With each moment that passes the technology industry becomes bigger and more integral to the fabric of daily life; there’s not a sector that hasn’t benefitted from it. Most people rely on technology every time they require entertainment, or to answer a question. One aspect of the tech industry that many could do without, though, is its apparent gender bias, and while there are more women undertaking roles than in previous years, there is still a long way to go before quotas are fulfilled, and women feel as though they’re truly a part of the tech sector.
The issue of diversity in the tech industry
There’s little getting around it; the tech industry is still frequently considered a male dominated sector, perhaps not helped by the fact that less women today then 20 years ago are choosing to join the profession, and some 56% are choosing to leave the profession within ten years.
While it’s certainly true that there are still a great many women choosing, and gaining, high-powered positions ranking above their male counterparts, many consider their appointment to be too little, too late. So, what is it that’s putting women off from applying for positions within the tech industry? There are certainly more than enough women that are qualified to undertake such roles, after all. Perhaps the biggest factor discouraging women from applying for jobs within the technology industry is its male dominated image; gender stereotypes have an incredible power over young girls choosing to study certain subjects, and they’re often put off so-called male courses such as math, science, and engineering. In addition, many women already believe that the industry is a sexist one, with 52% claiming that they’re aware of the gender pay-gap, and 73% discouraged from working in a typically sexist environment. These statistics are staggering, but the stereotype needn’t exist at all.
Regardless of the reasons why women are put off working within the technology industry one thing is for sure; the tech sector is quickly becoming the world’s top industry, with numerous careers branching out from its humble beginnings. Diversity is, and should be, a major concern for the industry moving forward. Is it possible to attract more women to work with technology?
An asset to the industry: Attracting women to the tech sector
While women may not be at the fore of the technology sector there are some incredibly strong and talented females heading the field, and inspiring young women to follow their dreams regardless of the odds seemingly stacked against them. Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM, for example, is an incredible role model for young girls hoping to break into formation technology and engineering, while the co-founder and chair of technology giant HTC is a woman, named Cher Wang. The truth is that women bring a whole range of assets to the technology industry, including the assurance of future talent, diversity and empowerment, and skills that may otherwise be overlooked. Technology impacts everybody, so surely it makes sense for women to hold the same power as men within the industry?
Much is being done to change the ways in which the technology sector operates, with improved education and training for employees, championed role models, the public challenging of negative stereotypes, and better mentoring opportunities being offered by a number of companies; this ensures that younger women, and school-aged girls, are encouraged into the industry from their youth, and inspired to do everything they can to achieve success. Indeed, there are a great many organizations currently raising concerns surrounding diversity in the tech industry, including Diversity Inc., which champions the rights of women and minority groups, as wel as celebrating their importance in a variety of sectors. CEO Luke Visconti is often quick to highlight industry failings and successness in his column, ‘Ask the White Guy’, while carefully unpicking arguments against the inclusion of certain groups in the workplace, and championing those inspirational few. Now is also the time to take note of the big companies pledging to make changes, including social media platform Pinterest, which very publically addressed its commitment to minorities, and pledged to increase its numbers of female and underrepresented employees during 2016. Such influence and dedication to change is difficult to ignore, but will it make any difference?
WHile much is being done to address the issue of gender-bias in the technology industry it is clear that there’s still a long way to go; women are still too easily discouraged from choosing ‘male dominated’ subjects that lead into such careers, and are under-supported in the roles they do manage to claim. Thanks to the influence of the women currently succeeding in the field, as well as organizations such as Diversity Inc., though, it is hoped that more women will pick up the mantle and make a name for themselves in the sector; their inclusion is long overdue, and most welcome.