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Googler Jennie Ibrahim on Inclusivity of Women in Tech

Jennie Ibrahim

Jennie Ibrahim

27 minutes

Mar 31, 2024

Googler Jennie Ibrahim on Inclusivity of Women in Tech
Interview Highlights

In the male-dominated field of engineering, women face unique challenges that can hinder their retention and advancement. Despite efforts to promote diversity, the retention rate for women engineers remains low, with only 26.8% continuing in engineering jobs compared to 41% of male engineers.

In this episode, Jennie Ibrahim, a seasoned software engineering manager at Google, shares invaluable insights into the obstacles women encounter in technical roles and offers actionable strategies for managers to foster inclusivity and support diversity in the workplace.

Understanding the Challenges:

Jennie sheds light on the multifaceted challenges women in engineering confront, from hostile work environments to unconscious biases and stereotypes.

Women often grapple with impostor syndrome and may feel undervalued and overlooked in male-dominated workplaces.

The absence of female leaders and mentors further exacerbates feelings of isolation and impedes career growth. Inadequate support policies, pay inequity, and work-life balance struggles add to the complexity of retaining women in technical roles.


Strategies for Supportive Leadership:

Drawing from her extensive experience at Google, Jennie emphasizes the importance of effective leadership in supporting women's careers. She highlights the role of managers in addressing insecurities, advocating for team members, and fostering inclusive cultures.

Jennie underscores the significance of sponsorship over mentorship for career advancement, emphasizing the need for advocates who champion women's contributions in decision-making forums.


Cultivating Psychological Safety:

Jennie shares practical strategies for cultivating psychological safety in teams where women are outnumbered. She emphasizes the importance of acknowledging biases, amplifying underrepresented voices, and ensuring all team members are heard and valued in workplace meetings.

By creating an environment where diverse perspectives are welcomed and respected, managers can foster a sense of belonging and empower women to thrive in technical roles.


Attracting Diverse Talent:

To attract a more diverse range of candidates for technical roles, Jennie suggests reevaluating job descriptions to eliminate biases and setting realistic expectations.

She advocates for creating psychologically safe environments where women feel welcomed and supported, noting that inclusive teams serve as powerful magnets for diverse talent.


First Steps for Managers:

In concluding the discussion, Jennie offers actionable first steps for managers to retain women in the workplace. She emphasizes the importance of advocacy, amplification of voices, and proactive efforts to address biases and microaggressions. By championing diversity and fostering inclusivity, managers can create a supportive environment where all team members, regardless of gender or background, can thrive and succeed.



Jennie Ibrahim's insights offer a roadmap for building inclusive and supportive workplaces where women in engineering can flourish. By addressing systemic barriers, advocating for change, and championing diversity, managers can play a pivotal role in retaining and advancing women in technical roles, driving innovation and success in the engineering industry.

Official Transcript

According to the Society of Women Engineers, only 26.8% of women engineers continue in engineering jobs. Compared to 41% of male engineers.

Retention of female engineers poses a challenge due to various factors including hostile work environments, work life balance struggles, inadequate support policies pay inequity, and feelings of isolation, women might encounter sexism and exclusion in male dominated workplaces, hindering their comfort and advancement.

The absence of female leaders and mentors, coupled with societal expectations and caregiving responsibilities can impede career growth. unconscious biases and stereotypes may result in overlooked opportunities and unequal compensation, exacerbating feelings of undervaluation, and frustration. Today, I'm excited to interview Jennie Abraham, software engineering manager at Google to tell her experiences on what managers can do to keep women in engineering. 

Jennie, thanks for being with us today. 


Jennie Ibrahim: Thank you so much for having me. I'm very excited to be here today. 


Felicia Shakiba: I'm so excited to chat reflecting on your extensive 14-year tenure at Google.

Could you share where your journey began, and what factors have contributed to your decision to stay with the company for such a significant duration? 

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