It’s no secret that the tech industry could benefit from a little diversity. Which is why tech companies have been taking initiatives to help encourage women and minorities to pursue engineering careers. Here at Quixey, we believe in closing the gender gap, which is why we’ve been working with She Codes, an Israeli organization dedicated to creating and fostering a community of women developers.
She Codes’ goal is for half of all software developers to be women within a decade. In support of this mission, Quixey hosted She Codes’ Inspirational Women Series at our Tel Aviv office last week, where Mor Schlesinger, Quixey’s VP of Engineering, spoke about how to find success as a woman in a man’s world. “It’s a man’s game,” she said, “but women can play this game, too.”
Drawing on her 25 years of experience in the tech industry, Mor, who recently joined the advisory board at She Codes, shared valuable insight on the male-dominated workforce and how women must play the game differently. In order to achieve success, she said, women need to fully understand the way the industry works, and approach their careers in tech differently than men.
It all begins with building confidence, according to Mor, and confidence comes with practice and acceptance that perfection isn’t what we should be striving for. “I know we say ‘practice makes perfect,’ but I want to change that,” explained Mor. “I want to tell you that practice builds confidence, and that’s one thing we really need.”
Women shouldn’t strive for perfection. There’s a common misconception that in order for women to be successful, they have to be superwoman. Mor explained that confidence comes from accepting that not everything needs to be perfect. Women should create a balance in their lives, where rather than trying to excel at everything, we should prioritize the most important tasks, and let everything else go. “I have a 90-10 rule for perfectionism,” said Mor. “I make sure to do 10 percent of my tasks perfectly.”
Mor also discussed the importance of stepping out of the comfort zone in the workplace. Women often need to challenge themselves to act in ways which men see as completely natural. “Speak up, market yourself, be a team player, but don’t lose your competitive edge,” said Mor, “and go out for after-work drinks.”
Throughout her speech, Mor frequently returned to the theme of confidence and recommended The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know, written by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. The gender gap in the tech industry starts at an early age, growing over the years. Math and science are generally regarded as male disciplines in grade school; the amount of women pursuing computer science degrees is at an all time low; and only one in ten venture-backed tech companies are founded by women. Despite the low quantity of women in tech, the quality is there. The women presently working and succeeding in the tech industry, like Mor, are an inspiration.
“Mor was truly inspiring,” said one of the event’s attendees, “one of the most beneficial lectures I’ve ever heard.”