We often hear questions like ” Why are there fewer women in tech?” The terms women in tech and women in steam are widely used nowadays. Care to think why there isn’t such a term in trend as “Men in Tech”. Well, because there isn’t a need for one. We emphasize the reality more than we admit.
The terms “women in tech” and “women in steam” are needed because there is a demand for women in technology. It stresses the fact that currently there are fewer females in the technological and STEAM fields than males. If this deduction is not enough, here are some statistical facts to prove the point.
According to UNESCO UIS, only about 30 percent of researchers in science, technology, and innovation are female.
In the global scenario, Tech giants like Microsoft and Google regularly say that women make up only about 30 percent of their employees. Few of them still serve in leadership roles or technical positions.
With Nepal, an informal survey of some of Nepal’s biggest IT companies in 2019 statistically illustrated the inadequacy of Women in Tech. For instance, Deerwalk had only two women, out of 10 positions, in upper management, while Braindigit’s leadership and management team was composed completely of three men. Cloudfactory’s 13-person leadership team also consisted only of two female professionals.
Though these scenarios have improved now and may advance in the days to come, minor changes are not at all enough. We are going to reach nowhere if we cannot acknowledge the fact that this stark gender imbalance is a serious issue. To solve this situation, we need to first understand the roots behind it. So then, finally, the question-
Why are there fewer women in tech?
1. Tech has always been a boy’s thing?
How many women out there have received cooking guidelines and dolls to play in their spare time while their male siblings play with computers and mobiles? How many times have elders in the family called the boy child to set up their mobile phones or laptops, although the girl child equally knew how to apply the fix.
There are many girls who don’t consider the tech field as a career thinking that this is a men’s domain of expertise, despite being interested and curious.
Not only in South Asian society but all over the world, women are generally stereotyped as non-technical of the two genders. It is prime time we understand that there is no such thing as non-technicality among genders. Anyone curious about technology should not feel hindered to jump into it because of the notion that “tech has always been a boy’s thing”.
2. Women are Emotional, Men — rational
Are we women emotional?- Of course, we are! Should that hinder us from joining the STEM sector? — Absolutely not! This prejudice has affected not only women but men too. It is a wonder how even the people of this generation think they can fit gender into a convention.
It’s true that females have more maternal instincts and considered sensitive ones of the bunch. But studies have proven that males are also equally sensitive. Equivalently, women are also rational.
They keep away women from technology and the STEM field, saying that rationality is required to study the related subjects. But what studies show in this matter is contrary to popular belief that women cannot excel in Technology.
One study showed that 15-year-old girls in 70% of countries did better in maths and science than their male counterparts, regardless of equal participation in those subjects from both genders.
A 2015 study of listed companies in the US, the UK, and India showed that Tech companies with women present on their executive boards outperformed peers with all-male boards.
3. Downright Discrimination
A study found that most women who remain in tech (73 percent) said they considered leaving their tech careers at some point because of restricted advancement opportunities (27 percent), unequal pay relative to male peers (25 percent), and little management support (22 percent). Maybe this answers our question ” Why are there fewer women in tech ?”
From the early university intake process to the hiring process, to facing discomfort and being belittled in the workplace, gender discrimination prevails everywhere. And we women suffer the resulting consequence. Because of the above two inclinations, companies do not prefer women on their boards.
For a woman and a man with the same or equivalent qualifications, most priorities are given to a man. This discrimination is so severe that female quotas, and avoidance of gender and photo in CV, etc were introduced.
We females didn’t ask for it. It was necessary. We should also immediately take a step towards serious punishment for female harassment and mocking. Only then women in tech will be more comfortable in their workplaces.
A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.
— Gloria Steinem
What can be the plausible way to transform the current stats?
Apart from this, there are many reasons there are so few women in tech. No matter the reason, it is urgent to transform the current stats. In Nepal, organizations like Girls in Technology, MakerKT, Women Leaders in Technology (WLiT), Women Techmakers, Women in ICT are creating networks of women in STEM fields to support and guide each other.
They are working together to emphasize the fact that women’s involvement is vital to uplift the status of women. Also, an initiative like The Future is Female by Shequal Foundation is one of the commendable actions to bridge the gender gap in technology.
Ground Breaking initiatives and more and more women-centric organizations are necessary to make any woman comfortable in entering the tech field. She should know that she has a support system here whenever she needs one. And the most plausible way to increase the number of girls in technology is-you guessed it right-Education!.
It is this above mentioned old bigotry, and limited bookish knowledge, that has been hindering potential women from entering the technological workforce. Only being mindful and aware of our own biases will help solve this gender gap in technology. And education is that light-bearer to transform the current stats.
And above all, despite these hurdles and misconceptions, there are women in steam who have been able to mark their name as the prodigies of the tech field. From Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer, from CareerFoundry’s Raffaela Rein to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.
They are among many women in tech who serve as an excellent example of a female tech hero. They are the role models for anyone who doubts her ability to thrive in tech because she is a woman. We need more of such role models, and the best way to end this gender disparity in tech is to be one.
With this, let’s hope that the question “Why are there fewer women in tech” will be less frequent.