Women have come a very long way the workplace in the past thirty years. The industries that have always been dominated by men are becoming more diverse, with companies explicitly targeting women to attract them to their open positions. These industries include plumbing, building, and the military, and yet there are industries like IT and technology that have a much smaller percentage of women in their roles.
According to a 2018 survey, 34% of the employees in technology are women, with 21% of those women in leadership roles. Part of this is due to external factors, such as there being little interest from women in technology-related careers. Internally, there is a lack of women in the workplace because of the shortage of female role models in management positions. It also comes down to the gender stereotyping that occurs in the science, technology, engineering, and maths sectors, that men are "better" at those roles than women. If this is putting women off of working in the technology sectors, then there will be fewer women studying technology-based subjects at school, and this leads to a lack of interest from women to work in this sector in the first place. Without the right female role models, young women will not want to work in a company dominated by men, for fear that their gender will define their ability.
The technology industry needs women in the industry, and females are not considering these careers as worth thinking about because there is such a lack of information and gender diversity in the workplace. It can be intimidating to work in a company dominated by men when you are the only woman there, and it shows women that this is a business that doesn't understand what makes a female employee feel empowered and motivated to work. None of this is going to attract women to the technology workplace.
If technology-based companies want to attract females to their industry, they need to highlight what makes their company inclusive. When women see a sector that doesn't feel "friendly" to them, they will not apply for roles within it. Take Apple, for example. The health app that was released was exclusively made to track steps, heart rate, height, and weight. However, it did not account for female menstruation, which can cause fluctuations in weight every month. When this was addressed, though it took a year, Apple saw a surge in women being more active within their app. When a company in technology takes steps to close the gender gap, the perception of the industry being male dominated can begin to change.
Sectors that are balanced in their offerings to both men and women - from salary to benefits and environment - are lifting women out of poverty and it allows for women who are talented and exceptional in their work to rise to the top of the career ladder. These women are then able to be role models for the next generation to come.
Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.
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