The gender gap in tech is persistent, but it can be addressed by offering resources, fostering inclusive workplaces, and implementing policies that promote equity.
The gender gap in tech remains due to a number of factors including lack of job security, gender bias, and work-life balance issues. However, there are potential solutions that can be put into place to increase access and opportunities for women in tech.
Ensuring equitable wages and adopting flexible working hours are two key measures that can help make the tech industry more inclusive for women. Additionally, increasing support structures, such as mentorship programs, is vital to helping women succeed in a male-dominated field.
By implementing these solutions, we can begin to close the gender gap in tech and create a more equal workplace for all.
In recent research and a survey of nearly 5,000 professionals conducted by WomenTech Network, an alarming 69.2% of the tech employees who were recently laid off are women — a worrying trend that highlights the unequal impact these layoffs have had on female professionals. This data highlights the fact that women are more vulnerable in the tech industry, particularly during times of economic downturn.
The lack of job security can be disconcerting to women, who may opt out at a higher rate than men due to lack of flexibility, gender bias, lack of support, and other reasons.
Lack of representation in leadership
Women in the IT industry are confronted with an imbalance that can be incredibly discouraging — they make up only 26% of the entire workforce. The scarce female representation makes it difficult for them to climb higher on the career ladder and leaves little room for younger women who seek inspiration from professional figures.
Female representation in the tech leadership space is still alarmingly low, often ranging between 15-25% (depending on the data set). Although progress has been made, the rate of improvement is much too slow and requires greater acceleration.
Women’s professional progression is too often hindered by gender-based prejudice, which can take shape in various ways. This could be anything from being bypassed for promotions or executive roles to having their decisions and results held up under greater examination than men.
Moreover, women’s accomplishments are routinely overshadowed by those of male colleagues — a phenomenon that needs to change.
Women have fewer chances to be granted promotions and access to powerful networks, despite their potential. It is necessary to create an environment where women can see opportunities.
Connecting women in tech with these powerful tech leaders through online communities can support women with their endeavors, as well as motivate them to reach new heights. This was one of the reasons for us to launch a Women in Tech Global Conference virtually back in 2020 at the high time of the pandemic.
Technology is an incredibly fast-evolving industry that demands loads of hard work. As such, it can be difficult to recognize when one should step away from their tasks and take some time for themselves — especially now with hybrid working models making the line between “on” and “off” hours less clear. Working mothers often find such trying circumstances particularly disheartening.
Women who have family responsibilities, such as childcare or caring for elderly parents, have to balance these demands with work obligations; this can create additional stressors on top of already demanding jobs, leading many women to opt out of the workforce altogether.
In addition, we see a current trend where bosses are demanding their employees to come back to the office full-time, which definitely doesn’t contribute toward helping women be more flexible.
Lack of flexibility
Many tech jobs come with rigid schedules and can be inflexible when it comes to accommodating family or personal obligations. This can be especially discouraging for women with childcare responsibilities, those from underserved backgrounds, and all other female caregivers as it limits their ability to take advantage of career opportunities.
Gender pay gap
Unfortunately, women still receive lower pay than men for comparable skills and experience despite advances in equal rights laws. It gets worse for women of color, Native American, Hispanic, and Latina women.
There are a number of solutions that can be utilized to increase access and opportunities for women in the tech industry, such as:
- Encourage companies to adopt a more flexible approach to work by offering benefits such as paid leave, flexible working hours, remote access, and part-time option.
- Guarantee equitable wages for employees who possess equivalent skills and qualifications by conducting wage audits and pay transparency laws and initiatives.
- Provide resources training, educational opportunities, and mentoring that are targeted toward underrepresented groups.
- Remove implicit biases and intentional discrimination during the hiring process by implementing blind resumes, proper interviewing techniques, and a diverse recruiting pool.
- Provide guidelines on how to evaluate job descriptions to remove unconscious bias and ensure they accurately reflect the current needs of the organization, as well as remove any gender-biased language.
- Increase support structures such as mentorship programs, networking events, and professional development programs specifically targeted toward women.
- Introduce positive reinforcement initiatives to recognize the achievements of women in tech.
- Introduce programs that seek to address gender-based discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and provide tools to help organizations understand the prevalence and root causes of gender-based discrimination.
- Create safe spaces for women to participate and thrive in the tech industry through focus groups, support networks and alliances.
- Promote equitable hiring practices, access to equity funds, and other resources for female entrepreneurs.
- Advocate for greater diversity in the workplace and support businesses that are committed to closing the gender pay gap
- Advocate policies that support flexible work environments and support women in tech who are juggling work, family commitments and other life demands.
- Develop more female-focused educational programs to produce a larger pool of qualified candidates for the industry.
- Empower women to take on leadership roles by providing executive leadership training, coaching and mentorship opportunities.
- Empower younger women entering the industry by raising more awareness about industry role models and support initiatives that encourage exposure to coding and technical skills among young girls at an early age.
Companies have the potential to significantly grow the number of women in tech roles with some conscious efforts, such as tapping into untapped pools for recruitment, providing training on cutting-edge technologies (e.g., AI, machine learning, data science), offering mentorship programs, and supporting employees in developing technical skill sets while adapting workplaces to women’s needs.
To ensure the world is designed by and for those who use it, we need to close the gender gap in tech. Enhancing diversity creates better safety standards, office culture, and job satisfaction in our workplaces — a win-win that leads to employees staying with companies longer.
What’s more? Women bring invaluable perspectives when problem-solving; encouraging their participation helps restore balance and accelerates innovation.
When women are empowered to excel in tech, everyone benefits. Together, we can create a brighter future where women and men are equally represented in tech and leadership roles — one that recognizes the talents of each and every individual.