The Need for More Women in Product Management

April 26, 2023

Product management positions only see 35% of women filling these roles, thus the need for representation and diversity within this field persists. Product management professionals serve as leaders and subject matter experts by managing a product or service through its full lifecycle. Experience within this area provides opportunities for career success and personal growth by developing critical skills like creative thinking, problem-solving, working with cross-functional teams and clients, project development, response and resolution, effective communication, and others. Women can enhance this area by bringing their unique perspectives, creative solutions, and intersectional experiences to this industry, thus opening doors to more inclusive products and services that reach more audiences.

What is Product Management

In today’s world, providing a one-time service is a thing of the past. Instead, the key to success for many industry-leading companies is maintaining long-lasting relationships with repeat clients and customers. To do this, companies create an identity of reliability and dependability by offering continued services like free software upgrades and patches, guarantees, return and exchange policies, discounts on future purchases, and other incentives to continue customer support well after the product or service has been provided. 

On an organizational level, product management falls within the high-level management of serving customers by facilitating these relationships, as well as following a product or service throughout its lifecycle, whether the product is serving the company in-house, externally to consumers, or business-to-business (B2B). This can apply to cybersecurity training, software development, equipment, supplies, and a full range of varied products. 

According to LinkedIn (2014), this process often focuses on the “5 P’s of management: 1) Plan, 2) Process, 3) People, 4) Possessions, and 5) Profits," and covers concepts such as the pricing, branding, packaging, manufacturing, delivery method, accessibility, goals, marketability, competition, lifespan, safety, and all other aspects of bringing a product to life and seeing it through its lifecycle. A product manager will be involved in all aspects of the product ideation, development, marketing, sales, and beyond.,

Why Women Should Seek Product Management Positions

For women, the job marketplace can be rigid. Many women are led to believe they do not have the skills, education, or experience needed to take on management roles. But the reality is that there are many transferable skills that women have gained that are not only helpful, but critical in these positions. For example, networking, multi-tasking, determination, follow-through, and adaptability are just a few of the many skills that apply well to product management positions. Flexibility and adaptability to client needs, workshopping ideas, communication with clients and employees, and a foundational understanding of a product or service throughout its lifecycle are notable aspects of product management in which women can contribute significantly. Coursera (2021) points out that many women “can already do the work” as is often seen in their varied skillsets or demonstrated on their resumes, and it is important to emphasize this because there are missed opportunities happening when overlooking women for these positions.

Having a wide working knowledge of many trades, along with transferable skills and thinking outside the “one-size-fits-all" mentality is seen to deepen one’s understanding of the start-to-finish process of product management. Working within one’s strengths with a desire for continued learning is a perfect avenue for women seeking higher level positions in product management who often already possess this breadth of transferable experience. 

Management positions can allow women to explore leadership roles and increase their experience in the field, while product management professionals specifically can go even further in following a product or service from ideation to fruition, thus giving significant depth to any career. A foundational understanding and solid knowledge of how the product is created, developed, and integrated can give a product manager insight into the many aspects and complex networks of the process, making them an invaluable resource within the company and a defined leader in many industries. Women should seek these opportunities to further their careers in these upper-level positions with confidence in what they have to offer.

The Need for More Women in Product Management

Women are only represented within a small percentage of product management positions at approximately 35%, with most of these being entry-level roles. Women are important to this field because they bring a unique perspective and diversity to the workplace. Qualities such as high emotional intelligence, creativity, adaptability, and other transferable skills can highly benefit the product management process, which requires a manager to generate ideas and solutions during all development milestones. 

Most importantly, women bring representation to the field, as cross-functional teamwork and building client relationships are important roles within product management, by providing perspective to the marketability of female-focused products. This is especially important because women drive 70-80% of all consumer spending; an important factor to consider for new product development and marketing targeted towards women. In addition, women comprise at least half of the population, making them an important consideration in product creation. Developing products and services for women by women can be what determines the success of the product, as this can boost relatability and reduce potential product issues for this client market in the future. 

This field can significantly benefit from an increase in women-led positions which would positively impact the success of any product and organization by adding this breadth of diversity, perspective, and skills needed to reach more consumer audiences with better products.

What Capitol Tech Can Do for You

Capitol Technology University recognizes the importance of women in the emerging fields of cybersecurity and product management, which are often closely intertwined as tech-adjacent industries. Capitol Tech offers many opportunities for women to explore these fields with other like-minded professionals, as is seen with our Center for Women in Cyber (CWC). The technology field's gender gap has been a persistent challenge. The CWC seeks to address the growing need for women professionals and leaders in cyber-related fields and encourages women to seek opportunities for career development and personal growth. 

Additionally, through the MS program in Product Management and other exciting student resources, Capitol Technology University is advancing women in product management careers to positively impact the success of products, organizations and the field as a whole by filling the industry need for more qualified professionals.

For more information, visit the Capitol website or contact the Admissions Department.