Recent decades have marked huge strides for women in the arena of career equality. That progress, however, has been ever so slow to spill over into the world of technology which remains one of the least diverse industries on the planet.
Sobering statistics back up this reality:
- While more U.S. women than men now receive bachelor’s degrees, only 15% of computer science graduates are women.
- Microsoft and Google consistently report 30% of their workforce to be women with a smaller percentage filling leadership or technical roles.
Why the disparity? And does it matter?
Blame long-held beliefs, dating back to Aristotle, that cite the rational vs. emotional gender theories that contribute to the mindset that men are better suited to work in technology. Such thinking has allowed for a dismissive attitude when the subject of women’s contributions to technology enter the conversation.
In the technology world, this way of thinking has gained a stubborn foothold. “The number one thing holding women back is stereotypes,” says Christianne Corbett, co-author of a report released by the American Association of University Women, a nonprofit that promotes gender equality. “The stereotype is that girls and women are not as good at math and science as boys and men are.”
Despite the negative connotations and the decidedly unfair playing field, the prospects for women in this challenging field are improving. Women are slowly but surely being recognized for what they bring to the “tech table” and are being allowed to play a critical role in today’s technology industry.
Meghan M. Biro shares two surprising yet hopeful facts. Women are the lead adopters of technology, and Dow Jones found that successful startups have more women in senior positions than unsuccessful ones.
Other studies have shown that across all industries, teams that include women are more creative, experimental and productive than all-male teams.
Shares John Patton, VP of Global Partnerships for Phone2Action, “I can say first-hand that it has been essential for our growth as a business and specifically in our ability to close certain deals that we have a balanced workforce.”
A host of reasons that may explain these findings come to mind. Women often, usually, possess a perspective that differs from that of their male colleagues. Their unique approach can reel in a hesitant client, zero in on a new resource, or uncover a problem-solving solution, all of which may have alluded their male co-workers. And simply the evidence that a company is not male-dominated but rather possesses a balanced workforce is very often good for overall business.
And, yes, it matters. That’s why organizations such as the National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT) are approaching the issue at its roots by encouraging high school girls to seek careers in technology. Their Aspirations program honors students for their computing-related achievements and leadership abilities as they make plans for technology-related education after high school.
A collective effort to overcome the barriers women face in the world of technology will create a positive, long-lasting impact on this vital industry.
Myelin Resources combines a national scope with local expertise to bring you the best male and female technology professionals to you because identifying and placing qualified candidates is what we do best. Contact our staffing specialists today.