05 March 2018 | Sophia Lee
Sophia Lee, team leader at iSite, discusses the challenges women face in career progression and how technology can bridge the gender gap.
I work in two male-dominated industries - technology and the built environment. There is an abundance of opportunities for tech-savvy people and, as these two environments become more reliant on each other, respect for women involved is growing.
For two years I've run a big project to develop software to provide state-of-the-art business intelligence and strategic foresight across the entire operational built environment.
But one of the challenges in my career to date is working beside men who understand my abilities, but do not necessarily provide me with the same levels of trust and empowerment as they do their male colleagues.
While my deliverables, pressure and workload have all increased exponentially, my career has not progressed at the same rate as careers of some of my male colleagues. What is happening? Where are the other women exemplars at executive leadership level?
I am from a traditional Chinese background and struggle to self-promote while respecting the strict boundaries within the levels of hierarchy. So how can organisations ensure that cultural background differences do not influence one's ability to have a voice that is heard and accepted?
Technological advances in communication offering information transparency can help to gauge value in FM through collaboration and raise awareness of well-being, the challenges women face, cultural differences and organisational values.
What about using technology to foster a culture of empowerment in a safe working environment in which employees challenge others, ask 'difficult' questions and seek help?
Groups such as Women in Facilities Management and Business within the Community, organisation campaigns and industry institutes are working to raise awareness. I can't wait to see how we can enable technology to bridge the gaps.
Sophia Lee is solution team lead at iSite
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