5 Reasons Engineering Teams Need More Women

While some companies have made inroads when it comes to increasing the number of women on their engineering teams, a large number of them – especially those with teams of over 100 people — haven’t. At some businesses, there’s still a feeling that it doesn’t really matter whether or not a team is diverse. Here’s some reasons those firms may want to reconsider.

  1. Women bring diversity, and diversity helps generate new ideas for solving problems.
  2. Especially with products geared toward women, female team members can improve development. For products that aren’t focused on women, see No. 1.
  3. Women engineers lead to more women engineers.
  4. Hiring more women will lead to more female CTOs, CIOs and CEOs.
  5. Hiring women can actually help attract male engineers.

Line of ManagersDiversity of thought and approach are by far the greatest benefits of having women engineers on a team. Rather than working with a single, male-dominated mindset, a diverse team includes a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. That, in turn, can lead to identifying a larger set of problems and solutions.

In part, differences in the ways that men and women think is related to the way their brains process information, Rebecca Shambaugh, CEO of consulting firm Shambaugh Leadership, told Dice News.

“Research on the brain essentially shows that men tend to primarily use the left hemisphere of their brain, while women tend to use both the left and right hemispheres,” Shambaugh says. “Since a man’s brain functions are dominant on the left, he is more likely to rely on logic-based thinking and fact-based approaches and have a more detailed orientation. Women, who use both hemispheres, are more likely to have a broader perspective and big-picture orientation.”

When designing products and services aimed at women, it makes obvious sense to involve female engineers. That’s what online marketplace Etsy did. The company’s CTO, Kellan Elliott-McCrea, told the Atlantic that adding women engineers to its staff not only helped it recruit more women, but also improved its ability to hire male engineers.

Finally, it’s hard to develop top-level female technology executives if they never have a starting point. By employing more women engineers, companies greatly increase the number of female IT directors, vice presidents and ultimately CTOs.

The bottom line, says Shambaugh: “Numerous research studies show that organizations with a greater number of women in senior executive positions are more profitable, have greater market share and are better able to compete and grow.”

3 Responses to “5 Reasons Engineering Teams Need More Women”

  1. This is just stupid. Diversity is a blue unicorn. It signifies nothing. Work product is what matters. If one wants to do the job and CAN do the job then that person is the right man (notice universal usage) for the job. American companies need to be competitive not pandering to indentity-politics agendas. Also, as a father of daughters, I take umbrage that someone wants to herd them into job fields that they may not be interested in…simply because of gender.

  2. Deanna Kitlock

    A big advantage of having women on an engineering team is that many of us run households and raise children, or participate in such, in the larger family circle. Even in households where the husband thinks he is the head of the house, it’s almost always the woman. (No, I haven’t read formal studies; I just observe and communicate.) Women often work cooperatively and collaboratively in event planning of many types, so we are used to working as part of a team.

    Women are natural organizers and leads, often inspirational. We are used to coming up with solutions, based on parameters. We are logically minded and make great engineers.

    The ONLY reason to hire more female engineers is because we are valuable assets to the engineering team.

  3. di schwartz

    My MBA thesis written in 1983 made these same claims focusing on the role of females as product marketing managers (without engineering degrees, but an inquisitive nature and willingness to learn about the technology). I was working in the Semiconductor Industry at the time and applied my theory to demonstrative how intuition and creative insights applied to technology marketing successfully integrated the products within the group into a solution sell, it was the precursor to Intel Inside..

    Applying the same theory to health services, I am looking for opportunities to demonstrate transforming process and practices learned in the technology management applies to better utilization of health services, patient and provider satisfaction.

    An experienced worker with a passion for adopting new technologies and helping workers understand and adopt change.