Tips For Improving Women's Work Environment

Managers view of Survival Tips For Women In Tech

Patricia Aas, 26 April 2021

After my blog post Survival Tips For Women In Tech surfaced yet again, @e8johan replied “I would love something of a guide to complement the warnings. Like ‘How to manage teams for diversity’”, and in response I posted the thread below, starting with the final one here to keep the thread together.

Below I will try to expand on the items, to provide more context.

1) Believe women when they tell you that men are stonewalling them. Even more when those same men are extremely accommodating with you

2) When a client treats one of your women engineers badly: fire the client. Don’t reassign the client to a man

3) Give women stretch goals and give them the support they need to reach them

4) Don’t strategically place women employees in prominent positions in PR pictures and videos

5) Don’t make “women groups” and definitely don’t consider that a diversity/inclusion effort

6) Let women order their own self selected swag clothing items in their own size and shape

even if they will cost 6x as much because you can’t order in bulk

7) Don’t have “team building” events that will emphasize how different the women are, keep it cerebral

8) Pay attention to how women are treated in code reviews

(language used, number of comments, number of reviewers), and possibly make it possible for them to hand pick their reviewers

9) Never allow HR to “intervene” to “resolve” the situation: if you can’t solve it, you’ve failed

10) Don’t ever let the only woman do any kind of “office housework”

(she is working her ass off to break that stigma), examples: clean off meeting room table, organize outings, take notes ++

Do it yourself

11) Do not ask her to do diversity work, recruiting etc. Let her do her own work

12) When you see men disrespecting her in public, without making a scene, let it be clear you disapprove

13) When you see men steal her work, call it out publicly

14) If things get bad, let her pick her own team and give them the best project

She’ll finally have fun at work and folks will see that being nice to her might help their careers.

15) Give her a raise, and a promotion, and don’t let anyone give her a hard time about it, she’s already going through way too much

16) Hire more folks that are not white men

17) Even when she’s not there have zero tolerance for speaking ill of women or any other underrepresented group

18) Punish men who are nasty by removing them from exciting projects

19) Believe her. Especially when she is doubting herself. It’s not in her head

20) Make it clear that flirting at work is inappropriate

21) Foster an adult culture in the workplace. This isn’t a frat house. Real adults with kids and mortgages work here

22) Let her chose where she sits in the office

23) Never ever let anyone comment on her appearance or clothing, she can wear whatever she likes

24) Have her back always, but present her feelings as your feelings: I don’t think it’s appropriate to ask her to do this recruitment event. I don’t think this project is challenging enough for her

Don’t push her in front of you. Always put yourself in front of her.