Tag Archives: Role Models

Where do I connect with women’s associations in technology and trades?

Recruiting 101:  Have you visited the career links section of www.womentechworld.org? There are links to many women in technology and trade associations—some of which have local chapters or an email list that you can access.   A few examples of what you can find include Women in GIS, Women in Animation and Women in HVACR .

How to Recruit Female Role Models!

Recruiting 101: The key to recruiting women and girls in a field in which they are under-represented is female role models.  You already know their numbers are small, so where do you find these women?  IWITTS did a survey in 2005 and found that among educators word of mouth was the leading strategy (86%), followed by connecting with women on the street (66%).  Respondents also found doing a newspaper story on their program effective! In addition, I’d recommend putting flyers up in your community saying you are looking for female role models in specific occupations.

What does following up with women on the street mean? I remember meeting a female telephone repair person in our office building one morning. I invited her into our office, explained what we did, got her contact information and a little bit of her background. She told me, “I’m the queen of DSL.” Another time, via a journalist I was able to track down a woman who had been written about in the local paper. She ended up testifying before Congress in hearings I helped set up for legislation on women in non-traditional jobs that I drafted on behalf of a Congresswoman.  (The bill was signed into law!)

These are direct recruitment strategies.  Even more effective in the long term is to recruit female role models via program partners.  Employer Industry Boards can place articles in employee newsletters advertising for role models and can provide paid release time.  Develop partnerships with Women in Technology Associations; they can become a pipeline for role models.  Self-employed women have more control over their schedules and may be found via your local chamber of commerce. Also, speak with community college and 4-year college instructors in male-dominated program areas.

Please keep in mind that women in technical occupations (rather than professional occupations) have less control over their schedules, make less money and may not be able to take time off during their regular workday. If they have to take time off from work and you can offer them a stipend that will help. Some will work evenings or weekends, making it easier to connect with them during the daytime if that’s when your classes meet.

The first time you try to find female role models, give yourself three to six months. If you recruit program partners it shouldn’t be as hard on the second go around. And the good news is that as women and girls enroll in your programs you’ll have your own role models to feature in any publicity about your program! If you or someone you know has been successful in recruiting female role models in a way I haven’t mentioned here, please post a comment and let us know about it.