Gender Gap in Tech: State of Play & 3 Tips on How to Deal with It
Did you know that the first computer program was written by a woman? Ada Lovelace, a mathematician, is often regarded as the world’s first programmer. Unfortunately, we can’t say that men and women in technology are represented in equal numbers over a century later.
What, therefore, are the causes behind women’s under-representation in technology? And why is it necessary for digital companies to have a diverse workforce? In this essay, we’ll address such concerns and examine the problem from many perspectives.
Why do we have so few women in IT?
No one can deny that men and women have different interests in today’s society. But why is there such a stark distinction between typical female and male jobs? Let’s take a closer look at the reasons for the low number of women in IT.
Gender expectations and stereotypes
ENIAC, the first electronic computer, was programmed by six women in 1946. Until the 1980s, even computer historians assumed that women in ENIAC photographs were just refrigerator ladies. The truth is that these ladies cut the time it took to calculate ballistics from 30 hours to seconds.
Source: University of Pennsylvania Archives
But why did no one, not even experts, question why there were no women in tech until the 1980s?
Women are thought to have an innate ability to learn human science and not STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths).
As a result, we’re more prone to picture an engineer as a man.
Many biases and misconceptions about women’s roles in technology have arisen as a result of gender stereotypes. And we now find that only 20% of Google engineers are female. The stats below reveal that other large tech companies have a comparable number of women employees.
But why are gender stereotypes so significant that they prevent women from taking risks and building a world that is more inclusive of women? Stereotypes can have a powerful psychological impact on people, posing a “stereotype threat.”
Stereotype threat refers to a person’s dread of confirming negative preconceptions about his or her social group.
According to gender studies, parents and teachers often have gender expectations for their children’s maths ability. As a result, children’s maths attitudes and performance are influenced, resulting in a lack of female representation in technology.
3 Main reasons we need more women in IT
Equality, fairness, and social justice are popular notions in 21st-century culture. However, there is a rational and economic incentive in providing more positions for women in tech.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of expanding women’s representation in technology.
- Better problem-solving
Men and women have diverse viewpoints and, as a result, may come up with more original and important ideas when they work together. The team’s diversity also helps to expand the client base by better understanding their needs.
Companies that adhere to diversity outperform their competitors, according to Harvard Business Review. Diverse organizations have a 45% higher chance of increasing market share and a 70 percent higher chance of capturing a new market.
As a result, increasing the percentage of women in IT will assist organizations in better understanding their users’ unmet needs and boosting performance.
- Boosted revenue
According to McKinsey, organizations with a diverse leadership team are 21% more likely to have a higher return value. Furthermore, according to the HBR study, the presence of female executives lowers the crises’ detrimental impact.
In addition, the presence of at least one female director on the board is linked to better acquisition decisions, according to the research.
- Wider talent pool
Diversity policies aid in increasing the number of women working in IT. The shortage of certified software engineers continues to be a major challenge in the sector. According to the Korn Ferry report, a scarcity of high-tech personnel in the United States alone will cost over $160 billion in yearly revenue by 2030.
Source: Korn Ferry
3 Tips for bridging the gender gap in tech
One of the key objectives is to make women in the IT field feel more at ease and satisfied with their work. According to a survey conducted by one of the Big Four accounting firms, only 27% of female undergraduates contemplate a career in technology. More results from the survey can be found below.
So let’s dive right into the most reasoned tips that encourage women to choose a career in tech and stick to it.
- Improve work-life balance and flexibility
Many working individuals find it difficult to strike a good balance between their job and personal lives. Moreover, women are still in charge of the majority of home responsibilities. Women are also more likely to put their careers on hold or possibly cease altogether due to childcare duties.
According to the majority of female respondents of the Women in Tech Survey, the top benefits of a tech career are flexibility and the ability to work from home. Women in technology will have more possibilities and earn more money if their schedules will be more flexible.
Related reading: Rethinking Remote Work in the Digital Age
- Enhance workplace transparency
Companies should stimulate a culture of engagement that encourages trustworthy connections and fruitful cooperation. And earnings continue to be one of the most important elements that can influence the gender gap.
One of the most effective ways to close the gender pay gap is to make salaries more transparent. It’s also worth noting that women are less likely to engage in pay discussions. According to the PayScale study, transparent pay makes the gender wage gap in the company disappear.
- Generate more role models
Unfortunately, according to the above-mentioned report, 78% of students can’t name any renowned women in tech. It also corresponds to one of the most perplexing difficulties that many women face. They lack the number of role models that males do.
That’s why we need to create programs to support women in information technology. The following are the most notable among them:
To assist ladies in computing, these communities provide a variety of boot camps, workshops, and education programs. All of this encourages women to pursue careers in technology.
In this article, we’ve covered why more women in IT employment will benefit not only women but the world economy as a whole in this piece. We’ve also offered some advice on how to close the gender gap in technology.
Do you want to go deeper into the tech gender gap state of play? Then visit our full article on that topic: Women in Tech: 3 Reasoned Tips on Fighting the Gap.
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