13 years in Tech as a woman: Part 3

Hey my friend! As you know, I am currently sharing my thoughts, observations, and experience as a woman who chose to have career in the Tech industry. Here’s part three.

So what do I need to do?

One career tips I’m learning to get better at as a woman (applicable not only in Tech): learn to negotiate and demand, tactfully. You get what you settle for. Don’t rely on silent competence, hoping to get noticed and rewarded.

Women are not making it to the top of any profession. Why? Sheryl Sandberg poses that question in her TED Talk. I’ve heard all about Lean In, read a couple of articles about it, but only recently I actually watched the talk.

A couple of points that stood out to me:
– Women sytematically underestimate their own abilities.
– Women do not negotiate for themselves in the workforce.
– Men attribute their success to themselves. Women attribute it to other external factors.

Sheryl’s advise:
1. Believe in yourself
2. Negotiate for yourself
3. Own your success
4. Keep your hand up
5. Keep your foot on the pedal. Don’t leave before you leave.

Why do we self sabotage?

I’ve seen multiple studies saying women would less likely to apply for a job when they don’t feel fully qualified while men would just try. And that using certain words would attract or discourage women from applying.

https://hbr.org/2014/08/why-women-dont-apply-for-jobs-unless-theyre-100-qualified (stumbled upon this JIT from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/job-descriptions-invitation-conversation-strict-set-christine-bader/)

“many candidates – particularly women – see job specifications as requirements, and take themselves out of the running well before the starting line”
“I encourage candidates to view job descriptions as an invitation to a conversation rather than a strict set of requirements”
If there is zero chance you’ll take the job, don’t waste everyone’s time. But if there is any chance you would take it, go ahead and apply. Either party can realize that the fit isn’t right and pull the plug at any point. In the conversations I have, there’s usually one aspect of the job that is a big question mark; it’s o.k. to apply and figure out if it’s a dealbreaker as you learn more.
Throw your hat in, have the conversation. You know what will happen next if you don’t: nothing. That might still happen if you do apply. But at least open the door to the potential upside of the alternative.

Ask and you’ll get (?)


Men and women are still treated unequally in the workplace. Women continue to earn less, on average, for the same performance, and they remain underrepresented in top jobs. Research has shown that both conscious and subconscious biases contribute to this problem. But we’ve discovered another, subtler source of inequality: Women often don’t get what they want and deserve because they don’t ask for it. In three separate studies, we found that men are more likely than women to negotiate for what they want.

First, that’s 2003. Second, let’s face it, we are not stupid. We behave like this for good reasons. Like it or not, backlash against women acting “alpha” are (still) real.


Asking does not mean getting — at least if you are a female.


“They wait to be offered a salary increase,” she says. “They wait to be offered a promotion. They wait to be assigned the task or team or job that they want. And those things typically don’t happen very often.”
Babcock and Harvard researcher Hannah Riley Bowles wanted to find a way for women to ask for more yet avoid this societal backlash. They tested various strategies and found some that do work. Women can justify the request by saying their team leader, for example, thought they should ask for a raise. Or they can convince the boss their negotiating skills are good for the company. The trick, Babcock says, is to ==conform to a feminine stereotype: appear friendly, warm and concerned for others above yourself==.


She’s repeatedly found evidence that our implicit gender perceptions mean that the advice that women stand up for themselves and assert their position strongly in negotiations may not have the intended effect. It may even backfire.
The final piece of advice is for would-be powerful female leaders themselves: be aware that you are not immune from these effects. That doesn’t mean not negotiating but, rather, being strategic about it. “We’ve found that you need to offer an explanation for your demands that gives a legitimate reason that the other side finds persuasive,” Bowles says. ==”You need to signal concern for the broader organization: ‘It’s not just good for me; it’s good for you.'”==
No social-science study can tell a woman what to do in any particular negotiation. The variables are too complex. And to suggest that women should be wary of asserting themselves in the workplace would be like telling Rosa Parks not to sit in the front of a bus. But, for now, any negotiation in which gender is involved remains a careful, precarious balancing act.


why don’t women negotiate harder? The answer isn’t some inborn preference for sweetness and compliance. It’s that women are punished severely when they come across as pushy and self-centered, while men are celebrated for the same hard-charging traits. Both male and female managers are less likely to want to work with women who negotiate during a job interview
Sandberg advises women to frame their requests as serving some larger good beyond themselves. Along with saying ‘I deserve this,’ [women should explain] that, you know, ‘This is important for [my] performance,’ and ‘This will make [me] more effective as a team member.'”

About this series

Being in Tech, and being a woman, I’ve been asked a lot to share about my experience… as woman in Tech.

I have to admit it is a slight nuisance because I consider my gender to be the least interesting aspect of my career. I then realised I haven’t spent much deliberate time thinking about it. Which means that I haven’t done my best to use my voice and power to make positive impact in this direction.

So, I decided to share my current thoughts, observations, and experience as a woman who chose to have career in the Tech industry.

I decided to split it into a couple of posts so it’s more easily digestible. Trying to chew slower and savour more things in life!

Part 1

  1. Context
  2. Why I got into Tech
  3. A lens

Part 2

  1. Mindset
  2. It’s the norm
  3. Caution

Part 3 (you are here)

  1. So what do I need to do?
  2. Why do we self sabotage?
  3. Ask and you’ll get (?)

Part 4

  1. I have a dream
  2. May the fourth be with us. Resources, inspiring folks and communities

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *