Women have come a long way in the workplace in terms of what roles they are involved in. Stereotypical men’s jobs such as plumbing, building and fighting in the military have become more popular for women. However, women still make up a very small percentage of the IT and Technology sector with less than a quarter of these roles being occupied by women. This figure simply boils down to not enough women choosing technology related careers.
The main reason for the small number of women in tech is due to the lack of role-models for women within the sector and this is mainly down to the gender stereotype of ‘boys being better at science and maths’. Although in recent years there has been an increase in women entering high levels in technology roles, women are still in the minority compared to the number of male role models in the sector. According to females working in Silicon Valley in America, where three quarters of the workforce is male, women are discouraged from perusing jobs in technology because of the ‘brogrammer’ tech culture which is bought in from college campuses.
Another reason for there being so little women in tech is due to lack of talent pool. Figures show that fewer women are studying technology based subjects at school and university meaning employers have fewer women to choose from when recruiting. The reason for this can also boil down to the lack of female role models in the tech industry for young girls to follow in their footsteps and study these subjects.
So it’s clear- tech needs women! Despite figures, gender diversity benefits companies in a number of ways. A report from Nominet shows that increasing the number of women working in IT could generate an extra £2.6 billion a year for the UK’s economy. Having a diverse team is always beneficial to any company, even within the tech sector. It is crucial to have a balanced workforce when it comes to sharing ideas, leadership and creativity for new projects.
A clear example of this is when Apple released its health app. You could track almost every health metric a person might need to monitor such as weight and blood, but left out menstruation, a basic bodily function experienced by 50% of the world’s population. This took a year for Apple to correct and could have been sooner (or straight away) if more females were involved in the process.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook says ‘No industry or country can reach its 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’.