Monday, April 15, 2024

AVENUES :How freelancing is helping rebuild diversity in technology sector

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The technology sector has long struggled with diversity and inclusivity, particularly concerning gender representation. From our constant interaction with companies we have observed that despite various initiatives aimed at promoting gender balance in tech companies, the industry continues to grapple with a lack of women in leadership roles and technical positions.
In fact, recent events have shown that the traditional office-based work model can be particularly challenging for women, leading to an exodus of talented professionals who have found a sanctuary in freelancing. This shift to freelancing is playing a crucial role in rebuilding diversity in the technology sector, offering women greater flexibility, autonomy, and empowerment.
The persistent gender gap in tech: The gender gap in the technology sector is well-documented and has been an ongoing issue for decades. Historically, women have faced numerous barriers in entering the tech industry, with stereotypes and biases hindering their progress. For BeGig, being in the space has also revealed that many talented women still opt for different career paths or leave the tech sector altogether, leading to a severe underrepresentation of women in technology-related roles.
The call of the office: a deterrent for women: The COVID-19 pandemic forced a sudden shift to remote work for many technology companies, and this transition initially appeared to be beneficial for women in the industry. Remote work offered increased flexibility, allowing them to better balance personal and professional responsibilities.
However, as restrictions eased and companies started calling employees back to the office, it became evident that the traditional office-based model was not conducive to the needs of many women.News reports highlighted that women were leaving their tech jobs at higher rates than men when asked to return to the office.
This phenomenon was attributed to various factors, including the absence of adequate support systems for childcare and eldercare, long commutes, and inflexible working hours. Women solopreneurs at BeGig still state these problems as roadblocks to their professional growth. As a result, the progress made in promoting gender diversity in tech was at risk of stagnation or even regression.
Freelancing: an empowering alternative: Freelancing has emerged as a transformative solution for women in the tech sector. Platforms such as ours, enable and empower women to work and deliver projects from anywhere. We have had hundreds of conversations around how women in India need a system that solves their unique problems.
The rise of the gig economy and the advent of remote work platforms have opened up new avenues for skilled professionals to embrace freelancing. For women, this shift to freelancing offers a plethora of advantages, which are instrumental in revitalizing diversity in the technology sector.
Flexibility and autonomy: We know that micro entrepreneurs like to have the freedom to set their own schedules, choose projects that align with their values, and work from any location. This level of flexibility empowers women to tailor their work-life balance, leading to higher job satisfaction and retention.
Inclusive work environment: Gig working platforms such as ours promote a more inclusive and diverse work environment by offering equal opportunities to all irrespective of gender, race, or background while ensuring the best quality of projects and other tasks. This environment fosters a sense of belongingness and eliminates potential biases that women may face in traditional office settings.
Access to global opportunities: Solopreneurship or freelancing enables women to access a global talent pool, transcending geographical boundaries. This expanded reach allows them to connect with diverse clients and collaborate with international teams, enriching their professional experience. In our experience, this has helped women in building their portfolio while also enjoying a great control over their careers and experiencing autonomy.
Entrepreneurial empowerment: Freelancers are essentially entrepreneurs of their own skills, taking charge of their careers and financial independence. This sense of empowerment is particularly important for women who may face glass ceilings and limited growth opportunities in conventional employment structures. To have a workforce that’s skilled to take any entrepreneurial endeavor with utmost confidence, we need to promote more autonomy and decision making power amongst these micro entrepreneurs.
Networking and skill development: Solopreneurs also actively engage in diverse projects, honing their skills and building a robust professional network. This constant learning and exposure to new challenges contribute to their personal and career growth. Our platform fosters a strong sense of community, allowing women entrepreneurs to connect with like-minded individuals, form partnerships, and collaborate on innovative projects. BeGig’s supportive network ensures that they are not alone on their entrepreneurial journey.
The exodus of women from the technology sector due to the call back to office highlighted the persistent challenges that women face in the workplace. However, freelancing emerged as a powerful antidote to this problem, offering women greater flexibility, autonomy, and empowerment. By embracing freelancing, women in tech can rebuild diversity in the sector, fostering a more inclusive and innovative industry.
Policymakers, businesses, and society at large must recognize the benefits of freelancing and actively support initiatives that promote diversity and inclusivity in the technology sector, ultimately creating a stronger, more vibrant, and representative industry for all. We stand at the threshold of an extraordinary opportunity to shape the future of work on a global scale and bring diverse people to work together.
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