Despite the increase in female talent in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) sector in recent years, there is still a considerable way to go before we see equality in the tech industry. . The current wave of female tech savvy women are hoping to achieve a more equal gender balance.
Although 74% of girls show interest in STEM careers, this is not reflected in employment statistics. According to STEM graduates, only 13% of the total STEM workforce is femaleleading to a low number of female models in the industry.
Many obstacles need to be overcome, including challenging stereotypes and providing more opportunities for women. Unfortunately, tech giants don’t lead by example when it comes to gender equality among their employees.
According to the technical jury, over 75% of Facebook’s global tech jobs are held by menwith Google and Apple following suit, and only 23% of women making up that workforce.
Women working in the tech industry still face other challenges. WeAreTechWomen recently reported that 75% of women in tech feel there is a lack of support and respect from their male colleagues. By the way, two-thirds of respondents also feel ignored during work meetings.
The challenges for women in tech appear to persist throughout their careers, with gender inequality also present in promotion rates. This gap has widened further during the pandemic, with 34% of men working in tech get promoted, compared to just 9% of women. So what can we do to improve these issues?
The need for a good education
Women should be well equipped for a career in technology with the right education and the right tools. It goes beyond just what is taught in classrooms.
The recent London Tech Week study found that the majority of respondents think gender perception is the biggest barrier for women considering a career in techclosely followed by stereotypes and lack of academic support.
This underscores that the main problem is not women’s lack of interest in STEM, but the stereotypes and off-putting barriers that push women into other career paths. It is essential that schools strive to teach all genders how to break down these outdated misconceptions, in order to create supportive educational environments.
Provide hands-on experience
Providing first-hand experience for young women looking to enter the tech industry is essential. These experiences can take the form of internships and workshops in settings such as schools and universities.
Using female tech leaders to organize these events will go a long way to changing gender perceptions within the industry, providing positive role models and the opportunity for young women to be inspired. Role models are particularly crucial at this stage, with the majority of women saying that the lack of these in the industry is a huge hindrance to enter the sector.
Offering software development internship programs, offered by leading technology organizations, allows young women in the industry to gain hands-on experience with the latest innovations, while being mentored by industry experts. Participation in programs like these sparks women’s interest in pursuing a career in technology.
The value of mentors and a clear career path
Once they’ve tested the water in other career paths, many women want to move into tech. However, factors such as lack of resources and fear of the unknown can prevent them from taking the plunge. Tech organizations should therefore seek to offer mentorship programs for women wishing to make the change, offering support and guidance where needed.
Tech companies should feel responsible for ensuring that the career transition process is as smooth as possible. By providing appropriate training and accessible female role models, organizations can help their new employees feel welcome and comfortable. Post-employment, companies should seek to clearly define career progression opportunities for the individual’s role and continually support the employee in improving their skills.
Train the next generation
There is still a lot to do. Industry leaders and tech companies need to offer a higher volume of support to women currently working in tech and those considering a career in it.
This year, it’s critical to see more tech organizations supporting and providing opportunities for women in tech. Internships, mentoring, workshops, and defining clear career progression paths are approaches that all major tech companies can take to promote gender equality in STEM.
Finally, the importance of education cannot be underestimated. The importance of stereotypes still entrenched in educational and professional environments highlights a need for improvement.
Personal skills, experience, passion and knowledge are what define a perfect career path, not gender; it is crucial that current and future generations are educated about this. We hope to see more opportunities for women who show an interest in joining this exciting industry.