Women In Tech: The World is in great shortage

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Photo Credit: Freepik

The tech industry is booming and the opportunities are massive. But why are there still very few women in tech? According to a survey, it was shown that the number of women in the tech sector has not increased in the last ten years. Many things have been written about the technology industry which goes to prove that there are issues. From the toxic bro culture to the sexist work culture seen in most tech companies. It has also been found that there is a lack of willingness to participate in STEM-related projects, or even study related courses.

Why Aren’t There More Women In Tech?

When girls are younger, they are more inclined toward tech-related courses. But as they grow older, they find out that technology is something ‘boys’ are into, so their interest begins to wane.  Girls who eventually end up studying tech courses like computer science, web development, and software development find themselves outnumbered by men. According to statistics, women hold only 7% of technology jobs.

There are many reasons for the glaring gender imbalance in the technology industry. Below are some of them

  • Gender stereotype
  • Toxic work culture
  • Lack of talent pool
  • In-group favoritism

Gender Stereotypes

From when children are younger, technology is seen as a thing for the male gender. ‘boys are better at science and maths’ It is evident today in the kind of toys, clothes, and TV shows that children watch. Girls are often depicted as liking dolls, pink dresses, and tea parties. While boys are more drawn to bikes, video games, and computers. Children’s minds pick up these stereotypes subconsciously and start to play them out in real life. Who said pink is a color for girls? It’s the same reason why many men dread the color. These stereotypes in one way or the other have affected how women are seen in the tech industry. They are seen as trying to do something that’s not normal. Every girl should be interested in applying make-up and dressing up, and a girl who doesn’t fit into this category is seen as different.

Toxic Work Culture

It is common in the tech industry to see a male get promoted while a female is overlooked for promotion. This is one of the reasons why most of the women who venture into the tech industry throw in the towel within a year. It is unbearable for most, it’s like competing in a field where you are already seen as a loser. Women in tech companies are paid lower salaries and benefits, making it impossible for women to be at the same par with their male counterparts.

Lack of Talent Pool

Like already started before, not many girls further their tech ambitions because of gender stereotypes that the society instills in them. So there are not many when who are talented or skilled in technology. Less women are studying STEM courses and this gives recruiters a gender biased talent pool to select from.

In-group Favoritism

Most tech startups are spearheaded by males. According to a study in the American sociological review, hiring managers tend to recruit those who are culturally similar to themselves (i.e with the same tastes, experiences and hobbies). When this is substituted in the tech world, we see how easy it is for a group of male friends to recruit other males when expanding a startup.

Challenges Faced By Women In Tech

  1. Male dominance
  2. Doubt of technical ability
  3. Little or no sponsorship
  4. No recognition

1. Male Dominance

The technology industry is heavily dominated by males. Even with strategic efforts to tackle this, it has still remained the narrative.  In a recent report from Women in tech, the statistics showed that women have fewer opportunities for promotion, and as much as 78% answered that they believe men earn higher salaries.

2. Doubt Of Technical Ability

Women are seen as less talented than men when it comes to technology. A male web developer is easily rated better than his female counterpart. This is as a result of the bias against females in tech. They are naturally regarded as under-skilled and under-talented.

3. Little Or No Sponsorship

Sponsors are people who have been long in the industry. They often get firsthand knowledge of job openings. They are then required to recommend persons who they think would be a great fit for the job. Women lack such sponsors because of the obvious bias against their technical ability. They are rarely recommended for job positions. If there is anything to know about the tech world, it’s t fact that you need sponsors to scale.

4. No Recognition

Women are rarely given the recognition they deserve and most of their contributions go unnoticed. It is commendable that there are women who are breaking barriers and coming up with solutions to complex problems. These feats hardly gain momentum in the tech world.

A happy work team concluding a meeting

Photo Credit: Freepik

How To Get More Women Into The Tech Industry

1. Pique Your Child’s Interest At A Young Age

It will be difficult to develop a technological interest if no one in your family works in a STEM-related field. Today, I realize that my lack of interest stemmed from the fact that no one in my family was interested in or knowledgeable about STEM subjects.

Family members have a significant influence on children’s interest in STEM subjects. If the family is unable to do so, it is up to schools to prevent negative stereotypes and encourage girls to develop an interest in such subjects.

An example is a six-year-old girl who is extremely fascinated and interested in mathematics. Her father excels at math and has a strong interest in technology. He consistently sparks his daughter’s interest in math and technology, but he does so in a fun way that encourages her to learn and explore.

2. Allow For Flexible Work Hours

Unfortunately, many companies continue to exclude women with families because they are concerned about the number of “staying at home with children” hours. Women, in general, bear the majority of the responsibility for child care, and long work hours frequently keep women away from certain jobs. However, this does not preclude them from doing an excellent job.

People who are given job flexibility have higher job satisfaction, which increases engagement and performance. Allow women to work flexible hours in

3. Make Room For Female Role Models

Men dominate the industry, with male leaders dominating the media. Unfortunately, many young girls who are interested in technology face opposition from those around them, both at school and online. These girls require female role models, and we must do a better job of telling their stories. Because if we don’t, it can lead to a continued lack of interest and the belief that you will not succeed as a woman in the tech industry.

Perhaps you recall One Login’s marketing campaign in 2015? A female engineer was featured in the software company’s recruitment campaign. People with strong opinions about what an engineer should look like, particularly men, reacted strongly to the campaign. Following this backlash, the hashtag “#ILookLikeAnEngineer” became a virtual all-around social media trend to raise awareness about gender discrimination in the tech industry.

Many people are unaware that women have played an important role in technology throughout history. Some of the most influential women in computer science include:

  • Ada Lovelace – the world’s first computer programmer
  • Radia Perlman – dubbed “the mother of the internet” after developing the Spanning Tree Protocol algorithm
  • Dr. Grace Hopper – one of the Harvard Mark 1 computer’s first programmers

This demonstrates that we still have a long way to go in terms of gender diversity in STEM, and women must be given more space in the media, workplaces, and schools to dispel this negative stereotype. We must improve our ability to demonstrate the numerous opportunities available in the industry.

4. Encourage Women To Apply

It is critical to use appropriate language in job descriptions to attract more women into technology jobs. According to LinkedIn research, women are less likely to apply for positions unless they have all of the required skills, whereas men will apply if they have 6 of 10 skills.

As a result, it is critical to minimize bias by using gender-neutral language. Only by distinguishing between must-have and nice-to-have skills can women be influenced to apply for jobs.

Another way to encourage more women to work in technology is to state in job postings that female applications are encouraged.

Research has shown that diversity in teams improves creativity, innovation, and performance. Furthermore, the most talented individuals are drawn to organizations that value and value diversity.

5. Allow For Flexible Work Hours

Unfortunately, many companies continue to exclude women with families because they are concerned about the number of “staying at home with children” hours. Women, in general, bear the majority of the responsibility for child care, and long work hours frequently keep women away from certain jobs. However, this does not preclude them from doing an excellent job.

People who are given job flexibility have higher job satisfaction, which increases engagement and performance. Allow women to work flexible hours in order to balance work and family life.

What Notable Women In The Tech Industry Have To Say

These women have broken the barriers in the technology industry. Today, they stand as role models for the next generation of women in the tech industry

1. Ruth Porat (CFO, Google)

“Women are still not reaching the most senior levels of corporations. This is not a shortcoming of women, we’re talented and smart.”

2. Brit Morin (CEO of Brit + Co)

“My motto has always been ‘live what you love’ and as such, I think it is incredibly important to do work you believe in. Work for a company that has values that align with your own, be it in tech or another industry.”

3. Elise Andrew (Founder Of I F*king Love Science)

“In the popular science community, There is still a vision of women as outsiders, which is ridiculous.”

4. Sheryl Sanderberg (COO, Facebook)

“No Industry or country can reach it’s full potential until women reach their full potential. This is especially true of science and technology, where women with a surplus of talent still face a deficit of opportunity.”

5. Ellen Pao (CEO, Reddit)

“To support the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, we need to show leadership today.”

In Conclusion

We need more women in technology! The tech industry still has a long way to go to attract more women into technology, which is critical in order to keep up with the fast-paced technological world we live in today. While this article has highlighted five strategies for attracting more women, there are numerous other things organizations can do to increase the percentage of women working in the field.

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