In the spirit of International Women's Day, there seems no better time to take an inward look upon the tech industry, and the women within it.
It may come as no surprise to many that less women make up the tech industry than their male counterparts. Despite the fact that we are becoming increasingly more diverse in our societies, STEM workforces still show a very heavily differing percentile of male to female individuals. Statistics show that only 25% of individuals working in STEM roles are women. What may shock you even more, is that this figure has been steadily declining for years!
There are many factors which may be accountable for the lack of female presence within the world of technology. A lack of educational support from stages as early as GCSEs, where only 64% of females study STEM subjects compared to 84% of males, could perhaps be one of these factors. This difference continues into university where only 30% of females study technical subjects. An already present gender gap within the industry could be the reasoning behind this, aligned with the sexism surrounding engagement and interest in such sectors at a young age- we can see this through 17% more males having a career in technology suggested to them than females.
A lack of understanding of the inside of the world of tech definitely contributes to the lesser female pursuit of a career in technology. Females know less about the women already storming through the industry, especially compared to male tech powerhouses such as Gates and Zuckerburg who are household names. They feel they have little female models in this world of whom they can relate to-; they lack an understanding of how women in technology can change the world.
However, inspirational women can be seen leaving their mark in the industry daily, working to tackle the lack of diversity and female presence within the industry through the creation and backing of life benefiting schemes designed to support the involvement of girls in technology. Schemes such as Tech She Can are working on tackling the problem at the root of its societal cause- educating and inspiring young girls through involvement in tech. These schemes are often headed by women in tech, such as Sheridan Ash and Sandy Lacey-Aberdein, showing how vital and important women in tech are both in the work they do and the role models they provide. The existence of these schemes and programmes are vital; technology influences most aspects of life, therefore having a workforce of individuals who are representative to the whole of the populations is needed for the best, most effective results in what is produced. Women need to have (and feel like they have) an equal opportunity to take part and have their say.
So we can see that all hope is not lost! Whilst there may be a statistical decline in women jumping into tech, there are certainly many inspirational women already storming through the industry, providing powerful role models for many.
Tomorrow we will look at just a handful of the powerful women in tech you may have already heard of, and how they are providing inspiration for us all.
**Statistics provided by PWC Women in Tech research report.
Written by Lauren Sharp