According to some statistics, women hold only 20 percent of the tech jobs in the U.S., even though they make up more than 50 percent of the total U.S. workforce. This is a surprisingly low figure if we know that Ada Lovelace was the first to imagine the modern-day computer an entire century before the dawn of the computer age (1843). Instead of going up, the number of women employed in tech fell significantly after the 1980s. These facts make us wonder what the reasons behind this unjust difference between male and female workers are, and see where women’s place is in the future of technology.
Let’s speak in the language of data
Sometimes numbers are the best way to see where we stand in the world, particularly when it comes to business, as you could see from the first lines of this article.
Only 5 percent of the tech startups in the U.S. are owned by women.
95 percent of the leadership positions in tech companies are held by men.
Most of the computer network architect positions are filled by men (88%).
It is similar with computer hardware engineering (87%).
It doesn’t get much better with computer and information research scientists, a job position filled mostly by men (81%).
What is holding women back?
To answer this question we must go back as far as to elementary school where little girls are often discouraged from pursuing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Some of the factors that can cross the mind are lack of female mentors and gender inequality in STEM jobs (this can cause an endless loop of missed opportunities).
Are we on the road towards equality?
We can’t say that we are there yet, but we can say that we are close. Achieving equality in tech business requires willpower—from both men and women. And, don’t let this info discourage you, but according to a recent World Economic Forum report, the global gender gap will take about 100 years to close at the present pace of change.
That doesn’t mean we can’t speed up the change. There is no use in waiting for the things to line up as they should, it takes a lot of effort, confidence, and understanding to push them in the right direction. Here’s what we can expect from the future where brave women will make a stand.
Socially responsible IT companies
Social responsibility is becoming a vital thing for a company’s marketing and companies that care about their public image. Some of the most important tech giants, including Facebook, Google, Intel, and Apple, have pledged to improve the position and the future of women in IT, so we can certainly say that the tide is turning.
And as it was almost always the case through history, small business are moving down the paths the large companies have paved, and they are finally realizing the importance of promoting gender equality, regardless of the size of their company.
There is also a strong desire for better representation for women in tech which we can see from high-profile female figures in the IT, such as Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Marissa Mayer (Yahoo!), and Susan Wojcicki (YouTube).
Looking forward to career progression
One of the biggest stumbling stones for women in technology has been the lack of opportunity to go up the hierarchy ladder. However, there are indications that the Silicon Valley’s attitude toward female workers is changing and that the rewards are more frequent than before. Plus, women are becoming more confident and they see why things need to change, and why they are the ones who need to lead the tech revolution so that they could finally get their tech representation which doesn’t come in the form of a personal assistant (servant).
Consequently, come the improved rates of pay
According to The State of Wage Inequality in the Workplace report at job interviews for tech positions women are offered between 4% and 45% lower starting pay than men for the same job. The report even showed that women tend to undervalue their market worth on job interviews and often ask for lower salaries. However, they are aware of this fact and this is the first step toward making an actual change. Again, big tech companies are starting to insist on gender equality when it comes to financing as well, which will contribute to the cause.
Finally, to build a future where women can hope for and make success, there is a strong need for a mindset reboot. It takes breaking down the institutional barriers, insisting on acceptance and progression of women in tech, and fighting unconscious bias which deeply impacts the workplace relationships and career opportunities for women. Since the future seems bright from where we are standing (despite the gloomy numbers), we can conclude that there are endless opportunities for women in IT, and there are many of those alike Ada Lovelace waiting to seize them.