“To create a more diverse and inclusive tech world, we need to inspire and empower the next generation of female role models to pursue and develop their careers in technology and become innovators, leaders, and entrepreneurs. It’s a process and it’s not always straightforward. It takes time, action, and support. Join us on a mission! Together we can make a difference.” Ann Radulovski
I agree with Ann, we’ve lacked female voices in tech for too long, and now is the time to remedy that.
Our day-to-day lives have gone digital. From the products we use daily, to the content we consume online, tech companies are increasingly influencing the direction of humanity and providing solutions to tech-related problems of the future.
Do you know that we have too few women working in tech companies—especially in top leadership roles—which threatens to leave half the world’s population out of the conversations shaping our collective future; since just 25% of STEM jobs are held by women. In addition, a UNESCO study found that globally, women comprise just over a quarter (28%) of engineering graduates. Yet, according to a report on the state of women in tech, only 11% percent of practicing engineers are women.
What’s causing the problem?
Lack of Encouragement & Education
Poor representation of women in tech begins at an educational level. From an early age, girls have been steered away from careers and activities having to do with STEM, And even the ones that have shown interest have not been encouraged to pursue it. Unfortunately, even the women who do pursue careers in Tech must confront an unfriendly workplace where they lack support from many of their male peers. “Many women also point out how hard it is to be heard and taken into consideration for promotions and opportunities to rise through the company’s corporate ladder,” says Arian a tech professional and an advocate for more representation of women in tech.
Lack of Confidence
Apart from the lack of education and encouragement from an early age, another important factor that discourages women is a lack of confidence. Women, more than men, may have a very hard time fighting the ‘imposter syndrome’ and gaining confidence in ourselves that we can do anything, even overcoming the challenges in technology. Finally, the women that do break into tech often don’t remain there. The UNESCO study found that female tech professionals in the U.S. who walk away from the industry do so most often because they feel undervalued.
How Do We Have more Representation of Women in the Tech Space?
One of the biggest challenges has been to get more women interested in this field, to open their eyes, and break the cycle of fear of technology. And the first step to tackling that challenge is to get women of all ages to acquaint themselves with a conceptual understanding of technology. Women should study the technologies available today, what they do, and how we can use them. Books like Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom and Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari are great starting points. We need to help young girls and women to understand the big picture that technology is for them we need to begin by improving general knowledge to be able to use technology to its full potential. This will enable us to become better at identifying ways in which we can improve tech products, which in turn will allow us to become better Tech professionals.
Closing the Gap
To begin solving the inequities in tech, improving female representation will not just happen; it has to be made a priority and actively pursued. One approach is for leadership to lock in the idea that the aspiration for all new businesses and projects is the equal representation of men and women. Another is to track the percentage of women in leadership positions, and continually increase it. Advances in technology will surely not consider women’s issues if there are no women to point them in that direction. Women need to be part of the conversation that is creating solutions for the future of humanity so that we can achieve equality.
A call to action
Employers, Educators, and Tech companies can help address the tech gender gap by taking an active stance on this issue. Widening the hiring pipeline could make it possible for more women to come through; for that to happen, business as usual will not do the job. Think about hiring for skills, not degrees. One approach to increase the hiring pool is to create partnerships with good Technology Companies and other education programs, such as coding boot camps, and then recruit from them. Also, Women of all ages can hop on the technology train toward a stronger future. Stop letting advances in tech pass you by, the time to act is now!
It is in this view of bridging the gender gap in the tech space that Engage Empower Educate Initiative birthed the She-Tech project to empower young women with skills in mobile Application development and the requisite knowledge required to build successful careers in tech and become innovative tech professionals.
The She-Tech project is an ongoing project where we as an organization are currently Empowering 15 young women in mobile app development to join us on this mission as we work passionately to restore equality in the tech space.
You too can be a part of what we are doing at Engage Empower Educate Initiative by donating, connecting with us on all our social media platforms, and subscribing to our Monthly Newsletter.
Brood over this; Doing better for women, means doing better for everyone!