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Retaining Women in Tech

Shifting the Paradigm

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  • ISBN: 978-3-031-79208-3
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Softcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

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Table of contents (15 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xiii
  2. Introduction

    • Karen Holtzblatt, Nicola Marsden
    Pages 1-23
  3. Introduction:The @Work Experience Framework

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 25-26
    2. A Dynamic, Valuing Team That’s Up to Something Big

      • Karen Holtzblatt, Nicola Marsden
      Pages 27-41
    3. Stimulating Work

      • Karen Holtzblatt, Nicola Marsden
      Pages 43-55
    4. The Push and Support

      • Karen Holtzblatt, Nicola Marsden
      Pages 57-74
    5. Local Role Models

      • Karen Holtzblatt, Nicola Marsden
      Pages 75-88
    6. Nonjudgmental Flexibility for Family Commitments

      • Karen Holtzblatt, Nicola Marsden
      Pages 89-102
    7. Personal Power

      • Karen Holtzblatt, Nicola Marsden
      Pages 103-117
    8. Conclusion

      • Karen Holtzblatt, Nicola Marsden
      Pages 119-119
  4. Introduction: Practical Interventions to Retain Women in Tech

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 121-123
    2. Team Onboarding

      • Karen Holtzblatt, Nicola Marsden
      Pages 125-145
    3. The Critique Meeting

      • Karen Holtzblatt, Nicola Marsden
      Pages 147-167
    4. Sneak Attacks on Key Processes: Agile

      • Karen Holtzblatt, Nicola Marsden
      Pages 169-189
    5. Valuing and Jerk Behaviors

      • Karen Holtzblatt, Nicola Marsden
      Pages 191-209
    6. Building Resilience: Team Manifesto and Process Checks

      • Karen Holtzblatt, Nicola Marsden
      Pages 211-223
    7. Conclusion

      • Karen Holtzblatt, Nicola Marsden
      Pages 225-225
    8. Principles of Process Intervention for Retaining Women in Tech

      • Karen Holtzblatt, Nicola Marsden
      Pages 227-238
  5. Back Matter

    Pages 239-274

About this book

For over 40 years, the tech industry has been working to attract more women. Yet, women continue to be underrepresented in technology jobs compared to other professions. Worse, once hired, women leave the field mid-career twice as often as men. In 2013, Karen Holtzblatt launched The Women in Tech Retention Project at WITops.org, dedicated to understanding what helps women in tech thrive. In 2014, Nicola Marsden joined the effort, bringing her extensive knowledge and research on gender and bias for women in tech. Together with worldwide volunteers, this research identified what helps women thrive and practical interventions to improve women’s experience at work. In this book, we share women’s stories, our research, relevant literature, and our perspective on making change to help retain women. All the research and solutions we share are based on deep research and user-centered ideation techniques. Part I describes the @Work Experience Framework and the six key factors that help women thrive: a dynamic valuing team; stimulating projects; the push into challenges with support; local role models; nonjudgmental flexibility to manage home/work balance; and developing personal power. Employees thinking of leaving their job have significantly lower scores on these factors showing their importance for retention. Part II describes tested interventions that redesign work practices to better support women, diverse teams, and all team members. We chose these interventions guided by data from over 1,000 people from multiple genders, ethnicities, family situations, and countries. Interventions target key processes in tech: onboarding new hires; group critique meetings; and Scrum. Interventions also address managing interpersonal dynamics to increase valuing and decrease devaluing behaviors and techniques for teams to define, monitor, and continuously improve their culture. We conclude by describing our principles for redesigning processes with an eye toward issues important to women and diverse teams.

Authors and Affiliations

  • WITops and InContext Design, USA

    Karen Holtzblatt

  • Heilbronn University, Germany

    Nicola Marsden

About the authors

Karen Holtzblatt is a thought leader, industry speaker, and author. As co-founder and CEO of In-Context Design, Karen is the visionary behind Contextual Design, a user-centered design approach used by universities and companies worldwide. Her latest book, Contextual Design, 2nd Edition: Design for Life, details the new techniques needed for product innovation today. Recognized as a leader in requirements and design, Karen has been twice honored by the ACM SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction) — an international society for professionals, academics, and students. She was first awarded membership to the CHI Academy and then received the first Lifetime Award for Practice presented in recognition of her impact on the field. Karen is also the Executive Director of WITops, a non-profit dedicated to finding practical and effective ways to understand and influence the experience of diverse people working in tech companies, especially women. Known for pioneering transformative approaches, in 2013 Karen turned her energy to the challenges of retaining women in technology. Through collaboration with volunteer colleagues and students worldwide, WITops teams have developed the @Work Experience Framework and Measure defining the key workplace experiences needed for women to thrive. Then they turned their attention to solutions, developing critical intervention techniques and materials to help companies improve their culture for diverse teams. All work at WITops is grounded in deep field research and quantitative techniques which drive ideation and iteration of tested solutions. Karen is a Research Scientist at University of Maryland’s iSchool. She regularly consults with universities to help improve their HCI programs—including building in an awareness of issues that new workers, especially diverse people, will face. Karen has more than 30 years of teaching experience, professionally and in university settings. Karen holds a doctorate in applied psychology from the University of Toronto. Please contact the authors at karen@incontextdesign.com or WITops.org. Nicola Marsden is a professor of social informatics at Heilbronn University, Germany. She combines insights from psychology, software engineering, design research, and organizational behavior to improve collaboration and foster innovation in technology development. Her research is based on a combination of experience in both academia and industry, often with a gender or cross-cultural perspective. In her transformation work with people, teams, and organizations, she offers a balance between scientific knowledge and a practical approach. Throughout her career, Nicola has worked toward bias-free equal opportunity for women. Nicola is vice chair of the National Competence Center Technology-Diversity-Equal Chances in Germany, a non-profit dedicated to ensuring equal opportunity for women and men in STEM education and industry. The competence center produces research-based resources and developed and coordinates nation-wide initiatives such as the Girls’ Day or Boys’ Day program. This program helps young people choose a profession based on their individual strengths and talents, rather than clichés or gender stereotypes. Nicola’s most recent academic research examines behavioral design to de-bias collaboration, human-computer interaction, and design processes. She has also worked as a key collaborator with Karen Holtzblatt on the mission of WITops to understand and create solutions to retain women in technology. Her extensive work with corporations uses a theory-based, practical systems perspective to design, implement, and manage innovation projects, change processes, training and development programs, and strategic development projects. Her long-standing experience working with organizations in different countries allows Nicola to translate research into everyday practices to improve group dynamics and perspectives.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook USD 44.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-031-79208-3
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)