Gender diversity in technology remains an obstinate problem despite the growing voices pushing for gender equality in the industry. Reports show that as women make up 59% of the total workforce, they present only 30% in major tech companies. When it comes to economic access, women entrepreneurs also face significant barriers and are behind in the race for economic opportunities. Declination over the past few years of women’s participation in a STEM discipline is another factor making females away from technology. In this way, there is a need to empower and build strategies to unlock growth and prosperity for women in technology. For companies to achieve gender equality, recruiting more women in their IT team can be an obvious solution.
Not only at the enterprise level, entry and full participation of women in the tech workforce also must be discussed at government and international levels. In August 2019, the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council issued a series of recommendations asking governments to commence on initiatives that support women and girls to overcome barriers to participate in the workforce. The Council also invites G7 Leaders to ensure that gender equality and girls’ and women’s empowerment be a standalone theme in all G7 deliberations and be integrated into all the areas of discussion and deliberation.
Some countries already lead the way into gender equality by enforcing laws. California, for instance, has imposed a law that calls public companies to have a woman on their board. On the other side, the UK has made it compulsory for companies, with over 250 employees, to publicly declare the salaries of their male and female staff members. The InnovateHer programme is another example in plummeting the gender imbalance in technology. The programme helps girls aged 12 to 16 to learn the skills needed to pursue a career in tech. Delivered within schools across the North West, the programme also encourages girls to take STEM subjects at GCSE and A level. The purpose is to augment the number of women in STEM and challenge the status quo.
Unlocking Opportunities for Women in Tech
The lack of women in IT jobs continues making headlines. One of the most vital reasons for fewer women in tech is unconscious biases. Study shows that over 2 million employees leave their jobs due to repeated instances of unfairness or unconscious bias. Thus, this is the managers’ responsibility to identify, address and reduce such biases, ultimately improving retention rates for female tech employees.
To eliminate any bias within an organization, hiring more women as well as involving a woman in hiring processes is an exceptional approach. This will provide a distinct perspective to both new employees and the company. Research explicates that candidates are more apt to accept a job offer from an employer where they interviewed with both male and female tech managers and leaders.
Reportedly, a majority of women leave the workforce or a company earlier than their male counterparts owing to inflexible work provisions. This leads to low retention among female tech employees. Hence, creating and expanding flexible work policies, including more remote work flexibility, additional paid time off, and work from home options, can ensure more women in tech.
Moreover, gender diversity in tech is not a company-based issue; rather it is an industry-wide challenge. Though accomplishing it is a daunting task and not an overnight job, organizations have slowly started recognizing the advantages of employing more women in their tech team. While the stronger representation of women in tech is encouraging, more work still needs to be done to ensure women’s participation in the industry, with safe work environments, the benefits they need and prevention of unconscious biases.