Over the years, women have been encouraged to pursue technology with increasing frequency. But today, there’s still a wide gap between men and women in tech. Even though women make up about 47% of the U.S workforce, only 26.7% have jobs in the tech industry. According to Fortune, women ran 8.8% of businesses on 2022’s Fortune 500 list.
Many women get overlooked in tech despite their great feats. Take Angelica Ross, for example. She’s a transgender woman who founded TransTech Social Enterprises, which helps gender-nonconforming people land technical roles. And what about Susan Kare? She’s responsible for what remains of some of Apple’s signature graphics. Women’s importance in tech is everywhere.
When applying to college, fewer women than men choose technology-related careers. And after graduation, even fewer end up actually working in tech positions. But there’s no reason women shouldn’t be in technology; the tech industry needs gender diversity to continue thriving. Let’s discuss why and how women can venture into the tech industry.
Challenges of Women in Tech
Like other industries, the tech sector can be biased and it’s true that women have fewer opportunities to work in tech. Traditionally, tech was a male-dominated field, so only a few women made it to the top positions and as a result, women may feel discouraged about venturing into tech.
Another hindrance to women’s success in tech is societal pressures surrounding parenting and home responsibilities. But times are changing and more women are gaining ground in tech; there’s a slow but steady increase in the number of women in tech. And as this growth continues, more and more women will be in tech soon. But why is this essential?
The importance of diversity in tech
Studies show that diversity is good for business; team diversity in terms of gender, race, and age is likely to accelerate innovation. Women in tech:
Improve performance: studies show that gender diversity can be profitable to a business. A survey carried out on 22,000 firms globally showed that firms with 30% female leadership were associated with a 6% net profit margin. The reasons for the increased profitability were diversity in skills and less gender discrimination. With more women at the top, the companies' hiring policies were less likely to discriminate against women, focusing more on skills rather than gender and as a result, these companies had more talented workers.
Encourage sector growth: tech is among the fastest-growing industries in the world, requiring more labor supply to thrive. Women make up almost half the workforce population and their exclusion can deprive this industry of the crucial human resources it needs to grow.
Help design balanced products: an increased number of women in tech can foster the growth of women-related tech products. The men in tech are less likely to design products not associated with them, but women with tech skills can help make products more balanced.
How to Get More Women in Tech
Women are as good at technology as men and it’s not the lack of interest that keeps women from pursuing tech-related occupations, it's an unsupportive culture that undervalues their capabilities. A good starting point to get women into technology is creating a supportive culture in homes, schools, and the workplace. Let’s explore four key ways to encourage women to dive into tech.
Avoid unconscious biases
Most kids who spend time with computers are likely to develop an interest in computer studies; allowing girls equal access to computer systems can help encourage their interest in tech and pursue a career in tech. Sometimes, parents can become unconsciously biased. For instance, a parent can send their son to a summer camp to learn to code and their daughter to an arts summer camp which can lead to girls feeling intimidated in a computer class full of boys who learned to code at a young age. Parents should take care not to be unconsciously biased against their daughters and encourage equal opportunities.
Encourage the younger girls you know to explore STEM subjects, gathering all the resources you can give them to learn. By actively suggesting resources for them to learn from, you facilitate pro skills at a young age. The earlier girls get started, the more beneficial it will be.
Create a supportive culture
Organizations should create gender-neutral job descriptions to encourage women to apply through the following ways:
Offering equal payment opportunities to men and women
Having women’s representations to avoid gender bias during the hiring process.
Training staff to detect and prevent gender bias
Creating inclusive workplace culture
Promoting women at the same rate as men
Encourage inclusive practices at companies you work with; change starts with speaking up, so don’t be afraid to say something when you know it could be better. When everyone contributes to making the workplace a better environment, change becomes more active and realistic.
Provide financial support
Some organizations like AnitaB.org provide support to women in tech by providing financial support. This kind of support enables women entrepreneurs to start tech-related businesses. Others offer indirect support, such as childcare help or flexible parental leave.
Emphasize tech education
A career in tech starts with education. If you want to pursue a career in tech, it’s always good to choose subjects in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Remember, many women have made it in the tech field, which means you can as well.
Don’t feel intimidated by classes filled with men; while it may seem overwhelming, those classes need you there and you have tons of ways to explore tech outside of traditional classes with self-guided learning, bootcamps, and more. There’s no need to feel limited in how you make it to the top.
It’s High Time for Women to Venture into Tech
As time passes, the demand for tech workers keeps on growing and skilled workers of all genders are needed to meet market needs. Diversity in tech helps to look at problems holistically, providing effective solutions; the participation of women in tech can help restore balance and speed up innovation.
It’s not too late for women to venture into tech and with the support of experienced instructors, you’ll be well accompanied as you begin your tech journey. If you’re interested in working in tech, Ironhack is prepared to provide you with the skills needed.
We offer bootcamps that teach exactly what the market demands, preparing you to enter the workforce. Study with us online or on-campus, depending on your availability; join our next bootcamp today to help you secure a job in the tech industry.