Women can bring an emotional connection to the technology sector, which is becoming more important as the industry evolves, according to the president of business collaboration software firm Jive.
Elisa Steele (left) explained in an interview with V3 that the need for more women in technology goes beyond a desire to encourage workplace diversity, and that women can bring a way of thinking that has "real business value".
"It's an awkward situation because women tend to express their emotions more openly, but when in a male-dominated industry women tend to try to supress their emotions as they don't want to appear like women," she said.
"I think the positive thing is that women can bring that emotional connection, because technology isn't just about the bits and the bytes. Technology is about how humans connect; it's about what it creates for opportunity."
Steele recently replaced Tony Zingale at the helm of Jive after he stepped down, and is now responsible for its day-to-day running.
She is an example of a woman who has made it to the top of a modern software firm, and she does not believe that the need for women in technology has been exaggerated or presents a patronising topic for female IT workers.
"There are not enough women in tech and that's not under-exaggerated or over-exaggerated. I think that's just true. It's true by ratios and it's true by numbers," she said.
Steele shares similarities with other female technology executives, such as Salesforce's Melissa Di Donato (right), and feels obliged to use her position to help bridge the industry's gender gap.
"I think because there are fewer women in tech, I feel a passion and an obligation to help in any way I can to open doors for other women who want that opportunity," she said.
Steele explained that this could be achieved if young women are taught digital skills in school and encouraged to see the technology industry as a viable option for them and not just their male counterparts.
"I feel a lot of passion, as I think many women and men do, that we need to prepare our girls to have the skills and the desire to enter technology," she said.
"Tech is where the growth is, tech is where the innovation is, tech is where the creativity is today."
Steele insisted that cultural and ethnic diversity and a balance between the genders are important aspects for technology company to consider.
"I think the best thing you can have on a team is diversity. Those are the best teams because you have people who think differently, act differently, and give you different perspectives. That's where the best ideas come from," she said.
The need for women in technology has been highlighted across the industry and government, but a lack of workforce diversity at some of the major technology companies shows that more progress is needed.
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