Women in Data Science: The Current Gender Diversity Outlook

by April 12, 2020

The gender gap in professional space has a fundamental bearing on whether or not a company will thrive. Where skilled women count sums up to one-half of the world’s talent, it is quintessential to acknowledge their role in growth, competitiveness, and future-readiness of organizations. The females have always been instrumental in technology development, yet the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)’s report depicts that the number of women in computing space has steadily declined since 1991 when it peaked at 36%.

Specifically, with the growth of data-centric roles, industries are developing a variety of job opportunities but it seems like the situation is not the same with women. Analytics Insight’s study found that only 30% of women are actively working in Data Science and other data-oriented jobs. Also, around 10% of data teams do not have any female members in them.

Additionally, numerous studies showcase that there resides an issue with women leadership within the Data Science and Analytics industry. The ratio of women holding top positions like CEO, Senior Executives, Senior Level Management authorities is extremely low when compared to that of men.

According to a study, women’s contribution to Research and Development field is around 34% only which is not even half of what men get to perform. The participation of women as developers is 12% which is 4% less than that in the management area. While the creative input of females in the data science field is 28%, they tend to possess only 10% of the other significant roles in any tech-organization.

Comparing the sector-wise graph of women’s contribution to tech-oriented tasks, we found that the employment gap is not confined in the boundaries of data science and analytics rather it has become a global issue. Within the landscape of the Data and Analytics field, the overall composition of women vs men ratio in different sectors is also low. Around 38% of women work in the Marketing Analytics sector and 17% of them are directed to the Data Science genre. While the Data Analytics zone constitutes 22% female population, nearly 23% of women are doing other significant jobs in the industry.

Considering the demographics of women talent in data science, the study revealed that despite being the world power and leading country in technology adoption, even the US has only 35% of women working in data-empowered fields. Moving towards East, we found that India, which is recently ranked under the top 10 countries having a large number of data scientist headcounts, envelops only 20% of women amongst them. Moreover, other countries concentrating on Data technology adoption constitute around 15% of female contribution which is straight half of that of the UK’s situation. In the UK, 30% of females are working as data science and analytics professionals.

When we magnified into the reason behind, the ‘Gender Split’ specifically in technology jobs, it was discovered that lack of paid leaves for both genders becomes a major issue. As abide by the conventional social norms, women are considered as primary caretakers of the family and children which makes them make career sacrifices when required in adverse conditions.

Here, the gender pay gap adds just an additional layer to rising issues. Women in technology tend to earn less money than their male counterpart which makes it convenient for families to believe that they can easily quit the jobs if required. Another big reason for the gender gap in the data science and analytics field is the lack of mentorship and leadership for women in STEM education. Since an early age only, they are discouraged to pursue a career in STEM.

Amid all these challenges the question arises, what can be done to encourage women’s contribution in Data-oriented industries?

Analyzing the current outlook, the initial step that should be taken to inculcate scientific aptitude in girls from a young age is building communities and resources to promote STEM education and encourage them to pursue technical degrees.

Furthermore, organizations need to willing to adapt to diversity and welcome women with the pay they deserve as they can be equally ambitious, skilled and adaptable as men if given the right opportunity at the right time.

The instinctive bias of hiring managers should be overcome to overlook the male favors and zoom into the capabilities of a woman. Although a lot of organizations have strived to accelerate the women population in STEM fields, gender diversity remains a crucial issue.