Women in Tech | Career challenges and opportunities
The technology sector is a male dominating industry, evidently. But things have come a long way especially for women since the 90s. Even though women were brains behind some serious tech operations during WWII yet, their contributions often go unnoticed.
Not only that there is an alarming level of disparity in tech-based jobs available to women. Generally, progressive societies are offering more equal opportunities for women in tech. Still, gender biases exist worldwide and it doesn’t matter which part of the world it is.
Women hold only 5 percent of leadership positions in the tech sector; they make up only 7 percent of partners at the top 100 venture capital firms. More than 30 percent of women over the age of 35 are still in junior positions.
What causes this gender bias?
According to a report, Only 25 % of computing jobs are held by women. The turnover rate is more than twice as high for women than it is for men in tech industry jobs i.e. 41 % versus 17 %. 56 % of women in tech are leaving their employers mid-career. 12 % of engineers at Silicon Valley startups are women. Similarly, women hold only 11 % of executive positions at Silicon Valley companies.
We can clearly see, males have outnumbered women in the tech industry. There is a massive gap. Gender-based stereotypes are developed from infancy. From color distributions to gender-based toys. Both girls and boys are prepared for different roles. STEM subjects or Computer sciences are labeled as somehow male-oriented professions and not ‘lady-like’.
As a result, Medical, Educational or Public administration fields are overflowing with women. It doesn’t indicate the incapability of women in the tech world. It just shows how an assignment of social roles based on gender can trap a huge talent from reaching technical fields.
How can we reduce the power-gap?
Change can be slow but it’s worth making an effort. There is a need for prolonged and systematic effort to bring them into the mainstream. Only one out of five Computer Science graduates are women. Proper mentoring and coaching is necessary.
There are a number of companies losing women employed in tech roles. Why? Because of a lack of proper mentoring, training and development opportunities. It will not only help you to increase the number of women leading but will also help you retain and attract more women to the workplace working together for the greater good.
So many preconceived notions!
There are many assumptions made for female employees right from the hiring process. Just misconceptions! Not all females are facing similar challenges or commitments. Or not every one of them is seeking flexibility or planning family life at the early stages of career. Generally, people don’t leave their comfort zones, approach women employees or colleagues and personally seek insight into their plans ahead.
Even a professionally ambitious woman might be planning to put her personal plans on halt for a few years, just because she wants to grow and build up her career. Oftentimes, she is also seen as a potential runner eventually. These biases can put off many committed young women from joining the workforce.
Then there are ones seeking work-life balance!
A married woman with a family has all the right in the world to still seek professional growth and opportunities. All companies need is flexible working conditions that are necessary to attract skillful women into the tech world. They might resist joining any demanding workforce due to their domestic responsibilities. Remote work and flexible working hours should be offered for women to retain them into a workforce.
Fill the gender pay gaps!
Then there is another one, a pay gap between genders or limited opportunities of progress for women. Leading positions in startups globally are heavily occupied by men. Women are still paid less even in 2019.
Some facts: A woman who is doing the same job as a man, with the exact same qualifications as a man is still paid two percent less. Unfortunately, this controlled wage gap has only shrunk by a minuscule amount of $0.008 since 2015.
There is a growing need for business leaders and HR to ensure equal pay, equal employment opportunities for all people within their organization including women.
Lower wages or lack of power isn’t the only issue
These reasons are enough to keep women disoriented to join the tech world. Not only that derogatory comments from male colleagues and increasingly reported harassment by supervisors is enough to demoralize many women. Obviously when men are in power then few women paving their way to make a mark have to face subjugation. Since they don’t have many fellow women for seeking support.
The positive thing: we can see many companies, introducing anti-sexual harassment policies to address this growing issue.
Is there an immediate solution?
These disparities caused numerous women and minorities to leave, costing Silicon Valley more than 16 billion dollars. Just like the Business world managed to improve its discriminatory practices. The tech industry should review its policies too.
A startup like Muse was an initiative of the all-female teams and established its firm footing in the market. It proved women are equally capable as men only if given opportunity.
There are many success stories of women starting from Ada Lovelace, a first female programmer to Jade Raymond, Sara Haider and many involved in game development, or holding key positions in tech giants like Google and Twitter. Its proven women can thrive in the tech world only if given a suitable environment.