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Want a gender-equal work environment? It takes a community

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Sandrine Rollin

Women in Technology (WIT) at NetApp is part of a global movement that’s dedicated to bridging the gender gap in technology. Achieving gender equality is our goal. We are fortunate that NetApp leadership is committed to a culture of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Achieving a gender-equal workplace takes leadership throughout the organization. It also takes a grassroots movement like WIT to change culture, behaviors, and biases. We are working across NetApp to #BreakTheBias and create a working environment that is a model for diversity, inclusion, and belonging. 

Research has shown that firms with more women in senior positions are more profitable, are more socially responsible, and provide higher-quality customer experiences—among many other benefits.

Gender-equal workplaces and environments are most easily described by the attributes they don’t have­—they are free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. The goal of equal representation of women across company functions as a measure can be elusive. Even the most committed organizations find that it isn’t easy.

Achieving gender equality is challenging in America

More men than women are attracted to STEM professions. A recent study by New York University found that the gender disparity in physics, engineering, and computer science (PECS) is not caused by higher math or science achievement among men. PECS majors consistently have some of the largest gender imbalances among U.S. college majors, with about four men to every woman. The percentage of female STEM graduates is about 19% and only 24% of computing jobs are held by women.

Women leave technology jobs at a 45% higher rate than men. Research conducted by the Harvard Business Review claims that 52% of women in STEM careers will eventually leave because of hostile work environments where the company culture is not accommodating to women. In the tech industry, women are promoted at a lower rate than men: 20% of women over age 35 are still in junior positions.

According to June Sugiyama, director of the Vodafone Americas Foundation, although “most women don’t experience obvious forms of discrimination or sexism” in the workforce, “they face an undercurrent of condescension that leads to a feeling of isolation.” She continued, “I’ve gone to meetups and networking events that at times felt more like a frat party than a gathering of like-minded techies. I’ve grown used to being one of the only women in the room.”

In Europe the data is mixed

In six European countries, at least half of the scientist and engineering population is female. In spite of this, the average across the European Union is just 41%. 

women in science graph

As noted in Women in Tech Statistics: Girls Get Tech, “It is not just ruinous statistics on women in the tech industry and the percentage of women in tech that pose trouble. Another issue to tackle is the perception of women in the workplace, which is a problem of greater magnitude.

“Knowing the gender of a programmer should not affect perceptions of code quality. Nevertheless, this kind of bias continues to affect women in the workplace. According to Women in Tech Statistics, it seems that women’s code is perceived as better—as long as people don’t know it was written by a woman.”

It’s time to #BreakTheBias

It takes more than corporate leadership to transform workplace culture. It takes grassroots commitment and participation. That’s where WIT comes in. Several thousand NetApp employees join together throughout the year and around the globe to envision and make transformation possible by breaking the bias. We combine forces with allies across NetApp who bring a perspective of different roles, genders, and affinity groups.

WIT offers many opportunities to contribute to and benefit from our programs and activities. We invite everyone at NetApp to join us by:

  • Participating in our activities and extending your network beyond your area.
  • Taking advantage of our partners and resources for professional development.
  • Giving back to our local schools and communities by helping girls and women advance in tech.

What role will you play in breaking the bias?

On March 8 we celebrated International Women’s Day across NetApp. Throughout March we are celebrating Women’s HERstory month and focusing on giving to self, giving to community, and keeping the spirit alive through the coming year.

#BreakTheBias through Women’s HERstory month and beyond

If you are at NetApp, see us on

Check out these opportunities to engage with WIT throughout the year:

Find out more about diversity, inclusion, and belonging at NetApp.

Statistical references and data resources

Sandrine Rollin

Head of Industry and Global Accounts Marketing EMEA

Sandrine Rollin is head of Industry and Global Accounts Marketing EMEA at NetApp. She is responsible for the go-to-market and marketing strategy for key industries such as financial services, automotive, manufacturing, healthcare, and life sciences. With her team, Sandrine focuses on identifying and accelerating growth opportunities to help our industry-leading global customers lead with data. Sandrine is also a member of the NetApp Global Women In Tech Steering Committee, and she leads WIT Global Communications.

View all Posts by Sandrine Rollin

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