Despite the ongoing conversation about gender diversity in different industries, the tech community is still one of the most underrepresented sectors for women in the US. It is also often one of the most discriminated sectors.
Diversity is critical to the technology industry. It allows companies to provide a better, safer, and more inclusive product. Diversity can only happen when women and men are equally represented.
It is also known that diverse companies perform better and have a higher chance of hiring and promoting talented individuals. Despite all of this, women are still widely panned within the technology industry.
Educational Attainment for Women
Women are doing better in terms of educational attainment. More and more schools and companies are more open to hiring women with college degrees than before.
Women are more likely to enroll in a college of up to 72% more than men. They are even more likely to finish college and earn their diploma at a rate of 58%.
However, this might not be the case in the technology sector. The industry has faced a huge setback as women with computer science majors dropped to only 18% compared to the 37% that was recorded in the 80s.
Women even only make up at least 20% of engineering graduates and 16% in the workforce.
If you try to step inside an office today, you would easily discover that most offices do not have an equal number of each gender. Most companies encourage gender equality but only a little number of offices practice such.
Within the computer industry, only 26% were women and that number has been steadily declining for several years. Diversity within the office setting has always been an issue for many US industries.
Out of the 26% that was mentioned of women within the industry, only 5% were Asian, 3% for Black, and 1% for Hispanic women.
According to data from Pew Research Center, the number is slowly on the uptick as the overall growth of employment for women has grown to 34% over the years.
In a span of 30 years starting 1980, patents from the information technology sector were made by predominantly male teams. Patent holders were even more likely to receive funding if they were males or led by male-dominated businesses.
Turnover rates are even higher in women than men with over 56% of women in technology leaving their employers. Some 24% of these women leaving, seek employment outside the technology sector.
Many of the women within the sector also tend to move on to become self-employed while only a few were able to create their own startup companies
The Perception of Women
The numbers presented in these studies have already proven that women have a hard time within the technology sector. One of the main issues is how they are perceived.
There is a preconceived notion that the quality of work is lower when women are involved. In a study based on GitHub users, almost 80% of the code written by women was accepted, but their genders were hidden.
There will always be a perception that women are inferior in the workplace. It is also known that women who fail in the workplace fall harder than their male counterparts.
People even perceive it as a hard fall because women should never be leaders in the first place.
The Problematic Wage Gap
It is no secret that women are often victims of the wage gap. Women in technology are not paid the same as men within the same business doing the same tasks.
In Silicon Valley alone, men make 61% more money than most women. Women of color experience it even worse.
When it comes to offering salaries, women are offered less by 63% than men for the same position and for doing the same amount of tasks.
Women with children also take a hit. Working moms lose about 4% of their earning by the hour on average for every child they have while men earn 6% more. This is called the motherhood penalty.
How it Affects the Industry
While these numbers may not spell doom to the technology sector, it poses a huge threat to the overall integrity of the industry. Companies led by women fare three times better than those that are led by a man.
This trend applies to startup companies as well. It is already known that companies with gender gap issues tend to have issues within the business as well.
There is a certain level of harmony when both men and women can work together as co-workers. Women leaders in technology have done an exceptionally great job at fostering that environment.
Women in the workplace already face a lot of adversities. From sexual harassment to lower pay, there is a lot for women to deal with. Many are dissuaded from entering the technology sector because it is usually a male environment.
Companies should make a concerted effort to boost employment for women and provide them equal opportunities and empower them through their careers. Normalizing this idea will only boost the economic potential within the sector.