Why I Think Product Management Is The Next Big Thing For Women In Tech

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In June 2019, I stepped into a new role: San Francisco-based Women In Product named me their CEO. I chose to lead this passionate community of women product managers because of their commitment to supporting each other, advancing themselves, and changing the field in an industry that struggles mightily with inclusion and diversity. That community creates this organization’s power and taps its potential to drive change, not just at our annual conference, but all year ‘round at events held everywhere from Singapore to St. Louis, from Boston to Bengaluru. 

Getting more women into tech is critical for an industry that depends on innovation. The tech industry will only continue to flourish if that innovation is fostered by people with a wide range of experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives. Women matter, and the industry needs more of them at the table.

What products should tech companies be making, for whom, and why? These are critical questions that eventually drive engineering decisions. If more women lead the discussions and decision-making those questions require, the entire industry yields more innovative solutions to challenges people face every day, and can see tremendous economic returns on that investment. 

I wanted to build on the work the leadership of Women In Product has done since 2016 for three reasons: 

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First, it’s really important to me to see women at all levels of society advance. I am committed to removing barriers to opportunity for women who, by working in these roles, can make a tremendous difference for themselves, their families, and, perhaps just as importantly, their broader community.

Second, when more women take on powerful roles, they serve as role models and tend to pull up all the women behind them. Product management is a training ground for high-power management jobs, such as divisional VP, CPO, and COO, and we’re seeing more and more startup founders emerge from this discipline, as well.

Finally, these necessary changes can happen faster in product management. Though we’ve only seen glacial increases in the numbers of women in engineering roles, we believe  women can advance and grow meaningful careers in product management more quickly because the field is more open, regardless of gender, to great product managers stepping in from a wide variety of backgrounds -- business, economics, design, development, and many more. It is less constrained by specific degrees, schools, or proscribed career progression. 

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I’m thrilled to bring my vision and leadership to Women In Product and the women we represent. At Women In Product, we can build a bright spot in an industry that has struggled to change, and continue the work about which I’m most passionate: expanding the participation of women -- all women -- in tech. 

Elizabeth Ames

CEO, Women In Product