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Women to Watch in Product Management (& 15 Resources for Female PMs to Advance Their Careers)

24 Feb 20225 mins read
Malte Scholz
Women to Watch in Product Management (& 15 Resources for Female PMs to Advance Their Careers)
By Malte Scholz
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When researching the topic of women in product, you’ll come across plenty of headlines that sound like the industry is making great strides in closing its gender gap. But things aren’t quite as they seem…

In a survey conducted by Women in Product (WIP), 72% of respondents said that women take up <50% of PM roles in their organizations — the number of organizations with women in product leadership roles could be as low as 25%.

Whenever discussing gender inequality, it’s always important to note that there’s an even bigger gap for PMs of an ethnic minority, too. Clearly, the product management industry still has a way to go before it is truly diverse, with equal opportunities for all. 

Women in PM

Why we need more women in product management

Women currently drive 70-80% of customer purchasing decisions, so a lack of female product managers can only hold teams back from truly understanding their customers and their problems. 

In Marty Cagan’s article, Why Women Make The Best Product Managers, he argues that women make the best product managers, especially as they tend to possess the ‘feminine’ qualities of having a balanced ego, emotional intelligence, humility, and stamina — all of which are vital to excel in the job. 

So, now that we’re all caught up in knowing the need for increasing the number of women in product, it’s time to make a change. 

We’ve pulled together this guide for all women in product. Whether you’re a woman looking to get into product management, you’re already in the industry and wanting to further your career, or you’re just interested in finding inspiring connections and useful resources, you’re in the right place. 

Female product managers: the ones to watch

While there definitely aren’t enough women in product (yet), there are still many women who are leading the way in the industry. Let’s get them onto your radar so that you can follow their journeys!

Brittney Gwynn - Product Management Leader

Brittney began her career at Google, where she would work to fill gaps in their user experiences and anticipated product usability flaws. She later moved to SoundCloud, where her team launched new consumer subscription products in several markets. She went on to become the Product Director at Simple Contacts for one and a half years, where she oversaw the launch of their second vertical (birth control) from conception to delivery. 

Brittney is a part of the Black Tech Women community, serving as the NYC City Lead.

Teresa Torres - Author, Speaker, Product Discovery Coach

Teresa has been a Product Discovery Coach for over a decade. She specializes in customer interview insights, product experiments, and outcomes. She helps teams to bridge the gap between their market research and product decisions, giving them the confidence to believe that they’re on the right track. 

Before she settled into this role, Teresa was the VP of Product at AfterCollege, as well as an Advisor at Kindling. She acts as an Instructor for the Executive Learning & Organizational Change Program at Northwestern University. 

>> Follow Teresa on Twitter.

Women in product

Merci Victoria Grace - Startup investor and advisor

Merci started her career in the gaming industry as a designer. She took her experience and transferable skills and applied them to her role of Head of Product at Slack. Using her knowledge of Product, she entered the world of VC, becoming a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners. 

She’s always sharing uplifting, positive messages and insights into being a woman in product.

>> Follow Merci on Twitter here.

15 of the best resources for women in product management

With the right tools, network, and information in your hands, you’ll be setting yourself up for a greatly successful career as a woman in product! Take a look through our recommended resources below to see what appeals to you.

Women In Product 

The official Women in Product (WIP) Slack channel was created by Merci Grace (listed above) to connect women in product management, as well as offer support in this male-dominated industry. It’s a great, female-only resource that enables networking and encourages women to share their questions, give advice, and more!

To request to join this group, click here.

Women in Tech

With over 4,000 members, this Slack channel is full of inspiring women from all sectors in tech. They’re friendly and inclusive, specifically stating that any female-identifying, genderqueer, gender fluid, or non-binary persons who work in the tech sector are invited to join. This includes developers, marketers, product specialists, strategists, content curators, and more. After all, product management is relevant to each of these areas — so the more, the merrier!

To request to join this group, click here.

Mind the Product

While this isn’t a women-only group, it is a must-join for any product manager. We’re trying to get more women a seat at the table, so we’d suggest pulling up a chair right here. 

There are 277 channels, so there must be a women’s channel in there somewhere. If not, why not start one!

To request to join this group, click here.

More Slack channels to look into:

wip

Insightful books for women in product management

PMs don’t have a lot of available hours, but the insights you’ll find in the books below are well worth carving out 15-30 minutes of reading time a day.

The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You by Julie Zhuo

Essays on Product Management by Ellen Chisa

Trailblazing Women in Product Management by Mira Wooten

Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley by Emily Chang

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. By Brené Brown

The Women In Product Conference 2022

One of the best ways to find success in your career is to surround yourself with like-minded, inspiring people. So why not attend the Women In Product conference of 2022? With 88 speakers, 31 sessions, 41 Q&As, and 27 roundtables, it’s the go-to annual event for women in (and wanting to get into) product. 

Register your interest to attend here.

At airfocus we are always supporting team diversity

We are thrilled that our team has currently 18 women in a team that is almost 44% of all positions in a company and 42 % of these women positions are in leadership roles.   But we are not only supporting gender equality but also it will be good to mention that our team has 22 different nationalities within the total number of 41 airfolks.   Additionally, we are constantly auditing our gaps and working towards increasing all kinds of diversity at airfocus. If you like our company's culture feel free to check our career page where you can find more information about our team.

Keen to learn more about product management?

For more ungendered, valuable PM insights, check out the airfocus blog, too. If you are interested in more information and challanges about PM industry then feel free to download our report here.

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