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3 Ways to Empower Women in Tech: Support, Mentor, Adapt

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we sat down with Diana Drobysevskaja, Director of GRC Technology at SAI360 and Site Lead of our Lithuanian branch, to explore the evolving landscape of women in technology and Governance, Risk, Compliance (GRC) sectors.  

empowering women in tech

With a career spanning several prominent companies, Diana brings a wealth of experience and insight into the challenges and opportunities facing women in tech today.  

Below are highlights from our chat on everything from generational shifts to workplace culture, and the steps needed to foster an environment where women can thrive and lead. 

Q: You’ve had a rich career in tech, from a testing specialist to a social worker, to a senior manager at Nasdaq, all the while witnessing firsthand the industry’s evolution regarding gender diversity. What changes have you observed over the years? 

A: The tech industry has seen a gradual shift towards recognizing the importance of gender diversity.  

When I started, it was rare to see women in leadership roles within tech, let alone in GRC sectors.  

Today, there’s a growing acknowledgment that diverse teams lead to more innovative outcomes. However, the journey is far from complete.  

While companies like Nasdaq, where I used to work, have made intentional efforts to support women through networking and equal pay initiatives, many others lag behind, lacking structured programs and a supportive culture for women’s growth. 

Q: Reflecting on the methods to retain talented women in the industry, what gaps do you still see, and how can companies address them? 

A: One major gap is the absence of targeted efforts to create an inclusive culture that values and supports women’s contributions and professional growth.  

Having clear, management-backed programs supporting women in technology is critical. This should be the rule, not the exception. 

Companies need to move beyond mere acknowledgments of gender diversity issues and implement actionable strategies that include mentorship programs, career development opportunities, and transparent discussions about pay equity. 

Q: Considering the attraction and retention of women in tech, what strategies do you believe are most effective? 

A: Attracting and retaining women in tech requires a multifaceted approach. Firstly, companies should work on increasing their visibility and attractiveness to potential female candidates by highlighting their commitment to diversity and inclusion, offering clear career progression paths, and ensuring the work environment is welcoming and supportive.  

Additionally, there’s a need to challenge stereotypes and biases that deter women from pursuing careers in certain tech domains or leadership positions.  

Encouragingly, younger women are more tech-savvy and open to exploring opportunities in technology. Still, they also value transparency and flexibility, which companies must provide to retain them. 

Q: With generational shifts in the workplace, how do you see the approach to gender diversity and inclusion evolving? 

A: The generational shifts bring both challenges and opportunities. Younger generations, including Millennials and Gen Z, are not only more tech-savvy but also more vocal about their expectations for diversity, inclusivity, and work-life balance. They’re less likely to tolerate environments that don’t align with these values.  

On the flip side, there’s a risk of generational clashes, as seen in some of my experiences, where differing communication styles and expectations can lead to tension.  

Companies must navigate these dynamics carefully, fostering a culture of mutual respect and understanding across all age groups, and recognizing the unique contributions each individual brings. 

Q: The topic of maternity leave, especially in countries with generous policies like Lithuania, presents a complex issue for employers. How can companies better support women through maternity leave and their return to work? 

A: While generous maternity leave policies are essential for supporting families, they also pose logistical challenges for employers.  

The key to navigating this is flexibility and open communication. Companies can support women by offering flexible working arrangements, creating return-to-work programs that ease the transition back into the workplace, and ensuring that women on maternity leave don’t feel disconnected from their career progression.  

It’s about finding a balance that allows women to fulfill their family responsibilities without feeling penalized in their careers. 

Q: Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in the tech industry. Can you elaborate on the importance of EQ in fostering a collaborative and innovative work environment? 

A: Emotional intelligence (EQ) is invaluable in tech, especially in roles that require teamwork, leadership, and effective communication.  

Women often excel in areas requiring high EQ, such as conflict resolution, empathy, and collaborative problem-solving.  

This skill set is crucial for creating a positive work environment and driving successful projects. By leveraging the natural strengths in emotional intelligence, companies can foster a more inclusive, productive, and innovative workplace. 

Let’s Start a Conversation

Happy International Women’s Day

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