If we type the question: "How present are tech women in the IT world?" on Google, we won't get satisfying answers. The low presence of female software engineers in the tech world is the harsh reality that needs changes. Gender equality should be obtained in the tech field because it is the right thing to do. Incorporating more women who code in the tech world brings new ideas, perspectives and solves the gender inequality issues.
In fact, some studies confirm that females are even better engineers and web developers than males. As Technically Compatible says, women developers have a consistently better code compared to men developers. However, that fact doesn’t change the statistics below.
Gender Equality Is Still an Issue for Women Who Code
"Only 11% of all engineers in the U.S. are women, according to the Department of Labor. The situation is a bit better among computer programmers, but not much. Women account for only 26 percent of all American coders." - says Wired.
According to statistics, even though there are women in these areas, the percentage is very low. Instead of having a 50/50 women-to-men ratio, the tech industry still has men as leaders in the field.
Recently, the US and Europe startup companies have started to place women in leadership positions in the tech industry. This is an evolution that will change the numbers in the future, encouraging more companies to assign leadership to women.
High Ranking Tech Companies Which Have Women as CEOs, COOs, VPs Owe Their Success to Them
- Facebook's COO is Sheryl Sandberg, who is number 4 on the Forbes Most Powerful Women List. As a female leader, she has an organization called Lean In which supports gender equality in the workplace. Sheryl's thoughts on gender inequality and women empowerment are: "In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders."
- Youtube's CEO Susan Wojcicki, has openly addressed the issue of the gender gap in the Silicon Valley. She also made changes in Youtube's workforce, by raising the percentage of women for 6%. Google followed her example, increasing the number of women in tech for 30% from 2014 till now. Concerning her leadership style she says:
"What's important is that I do my job really well, that I build great products and that I'm a great leader. All those things matter independent of gender. But I do think there's a responsibility for me to support other women at Google."
- IBM's CEO Ginni Rometty empowers women in technology by saying for Forbes Magazine: "You never let someone define who you are. Only you define who you are."
Following their example, many other startups have entitled tech women to be in charge.
At Adeva, we not only follow global trends to incorporate more women who code at our startup, but we also have a female software developer as our CEO, Katerina Trajchevska, showing major success and expertise at international conferences, such as the recent Laracon EU. She says:
"Most of the tech conferences pay attention to the diversity of the speakers, but it's bewildering how despite those efforts, there's usually no diversity in the audience. It just proves that we should think long-term and address the problem at its core", says Katerina.
Your Team Can Only Benefit from Diversity
Obtaining gender equality in the workplace is essential in order to avoid a homogenous structure of your business bringing you failure and setback. Female software engineers and developers will bring diversity to the team, having a different approach to problems. Women who code are more analytical and detail-oriented by nature. Therefore, working with practical and straightforward males brings a solution to IT issues from various aspects.
Having women on your site will bring more creativity, thoroughness, patience, and wholeness to the group. What is more, from an economic aspect workplace diversity brings innovation and profit. Be aware that the diversity of your team will bring different clients and customers, making your business grow.
Women Are Almost Always Left Behind. It Happens in the IT Industry as Well
There are many assumptions as to why tech companies leave female software engineers from the IT world. The two major misconceptions are:
- Myth: Companies usually have a perception that women are more inconsistent than men at a job. The inconsistency is mostly because of the pregnancy and maternity leave when women take a period of time off. They are concentrated on other activities, while tech usually takes time, risk and devotion.
- Reality: There are many examples that private life doesn't have to be an obstacle to work for women in tech. Yahoo's CEO Marissa Mayer is a record-breaker who came back to work two weeks after having her baby.
- Myth: Engineering and technology jobs require leadership, and it is assumed that males are better in leadership and decision-making than women. That is the reason why men hold most of the CEO positions.
- Reality: CEO positions are also held by women and we can see that companies such as IBM, Lockheed Martin, Oracle Corporation, etc. are led by tech women.
In addition, the guilt doesn’t only fall on tech companies and startups.
Tech Girls Are Also Leaving Their Tech Jobs Themselves
- There is a huge difference in a software developer salary regarding gender. This means that female software engineers often times earn a lower salary for doing the same job as males. Women in tech make an average of $56,120 a year, while male developers earn up to $90,353 which is a major gender inequality issue. The same goes to the growth opportunities a woman developer has in a startup, which are way more limited and narrowed down than what male programmers or engineers would get.
- According to a Harvard study, female software engineers who start a career in programming or engineering tend to leave the employer because of the working environment feeling isolated with the majority of male colleagues. A solution to the gender inequality issue, in this case, is the opportunity for remote work that many startups offer. This would not solve the issue of the tech industry being "male-dominated", but it will at least bring more confidence to female software engineers, to stay in their tech jobs.
The World Is Moving Forward with Women In Tech
In order to bridge the gap between genders in the tech industry and surpass the inequality issues, there are many ideas that many startups, individuals and corporations have been incorporating on a global level. Some of the best ideas are:
- Having a female recruiter who will be pro-gender equality in the workplace, hiring female software engineers and developers is one way to change the practice and increase the number of women in tech. The tailored recruiting done by female developers is a new, thorough way of obtaining tech talent from all over the world, opting for gender equality and women empowerment in the IT industry.
- The listings of the tech companies are mostly man-oriented, rather than attracting more women. It is important companies to create ads which will be more focused on bringing women in the team. Also, statistics show that male developers apply for a job if they meet 60% of the qualifications, while women would apply only when meeting 100% of the requirements. Encouraging women to apply should be part of tech job listings in order to recruit more female candidates.
- Organizing female mentoring programs which will invest in the future education and upgrade for girls in tech. An example of such learning programmes is the Female Bootcamp creating opportunities for young women to be more involved in the tech industry.
- Offering sponsorship or scholarships for women who would like to study IT, engineering, or other technology connected fields. A perfect example for such scholarships are available through the Bill & Melinda Gates' Foundation which supports women in tech, encouraging young women to choose the technology and pursue a career in the tech industry
To sum up, we can clearly say that women's position in the tech world is not where it should be. There is still a major differentiating between genders which should already be in the past since it's the 21st century. What is most important is that:
- There are role models of women in tech, young girls who code can learn from and follow their example. They should be persistent and confident that they can be leaders in technology as well.
- Being in an environment where there are fewer women than men can be a lot intimidating for female software engineers. This is the reason why they usually leave their tech careers halfway. However, the gender gap should not make them feel less secure, but more empowered because they've succeeded to bring diversity to the group.
- The words "code", "developer", "IT", "software" and "engineer" no longer connect only to men because the world should know that women also are breaking ground in technology.