I’m thinking of writing a (hopefully both fun and useful) listicle with advice from “women who have been there” for spotting companies that really mean it when they say, “We want more geek women here.”

There’s lots of articles about negative things that should scare you away. What are your POSITIVE signs that the company is welcoming to geek chicks? Let’s help other women recognize them (or highlight them to enlightened hiring managers).

These can be (and probably are) small things you notice, even when you’re interviewing. For example:

  • The t-shirts they give out are available in women’s size small
  • Your interview schedule includes more than one woman, and nobody thinks to point it out as exceptional
  • The company benefits include on-site child care, extensive parental leave, or other family-friendly things
  • They actively recruit at women-in-tech events such as the Grace Hopper conference

I’m not planning to quote anybody; it’s the takeaways that matter, not sources. The most I might do is a first-name-anecdote (“Irene once interviewed for a programming internship, where this happened…”). I’ll take hearsay too (“My friend applied for a job where…”), because again I think it’s the “good ideas” that matter rather than fact-checked attributions.

What should I include? And why would you consider that item a heartening sign?

Just some response if it helps. The last time I was interviewing was long ago and no t-shirts but the HR in the companies was lead by women.
There was no issue with gender at any company I've worked for since about 1979.

After my years in big companies I struck out on my own as an independant and haven't really interviewed in 20 years. But I do work with companies in US and Canada but few are large enough to have on site child care. In fact none are.

Sadly I fear many companies have farmed out their HR and no longer are the same. But that's a topic unto its own.

HR most often is run by women: 73% of HR practitioners at the manager level are female. So I don't think that is a strong indicator of anything.

I have interviewed more recently but only in academia not the business world. IME if people bring up parental leave/childcare options without prompting it's a good sign, but as others have said HR/admin is heavily dominated by women so you really need to see if there are women in the same career stream as your applying for in the workplace.

Though mostly it is all about how the male interviewers treat you. At least IME I've always been able to tell when men are treating me as equal, or when they are uncomfortable, or patronizing, or pedestalling - e.g. "Oooh look a girl that is good at computation!".