by Amy West, Global VP of Banking Software Maintenance & Support and Global Professional Services Centers at Diebold Nixdorf
It’s no secret that gender diversity continues to be a challenge in the technology world. Even though women make up nearly half the workforce in the United States, fewer than 15% of software engineering positions — and only a quarter of computer-related jobs — are held by women. And while many companies have tried to improve this ratio, the reality is that over the last two decades, hiring women into these roles has increased only 2%. That’s a problem. But it’s also an opportunity for Diebold Nixdorf to lead the way in making sure that women have a seat at the table.
One of the things that attracts me to Diebold Nixdorf is the proactive plan to include more women in the technical workforce. Just about every company has a statement on gender diversity, but it’s rare to find an organization that actually has a formal program to create real change. Diebold Nixdorf’s commitment to creating mentorship programs, like our Women@DN Employee Resource Group, while also seeking to hire more women in technical roles, are important steps to advancing gender equality. But it shouldn’t stop there.
Diebold Nixdorf recognizes that women are an important part of the fabric of our company, and every voice matters. As someone who has spent nearly 30 years in the software industry, I can tell you from personal experience that this is not always easy to achieve. I have been in countless meetings over the years where I have been the only woman in the room. My meeting colleagues are typically smart, assertive and eager to contribute. All fantastic qualities to have, but this often results in people talking over one another or rushing to jump in at the first hint of silence to push opinions and ideas. This can be a tricky situation to navigate for some women who may feel the easiest path in these situations is to lean back — a tactic that can often backfire, resulting in inevitable invisibility and the appearance of not being “assertive enough.” On the other hand, if women eagerly join the conversation, they may be viewed as “too assertive and not a team player.” This unconscious bias, held by men and women alike, has been well documented in the last few years, but it’s worth repeating again. In a meeting where 90% of the participants are men, it’s still challenging for many women to easily step forward and be heard.
It’s difficult for anyone to step into a new culture and feel comfortable, and it can be even more so for women, even if there are no structural barriers to success. The dynamic of a meeting where half the participants are women is a lot different than a meeting where only a handful of women are present. In my time here at Diebold Nixdorf, I’ve witnessed many colleagues make an effort to be cognizant of meeting dynamics and the fact that women communicate differently and have different ways of approaching problems. This will only get better over time as more and more women take leadership positions, and we all work together to solve problems, shape trends, and inspire the next generation.
Software is undeniably critical to our business, and we’re shaping a workplace culture that’s excited about innovation and always listening to our people as we learn, grown, change and challenge ourselves to be the change we want to see in our discipline. It's encouraging to me that Diebold Nixdorf has prioritized equality as a formal measure of our company’s success. It’s only through a deliberate approach to solving this problem that companies can truly crack the glass ceiling and positively impact company performance for everyone.
For more information about Software careers at Diebold Nixdorf, visit our Careers page at https://www.dieboldnixdorf.com/en-us/careers.