Recently, the focus in the media has been around equal pay for females…That’s all well and good but what about getting females into the industries that are dominated by males. A recent study conducted by The Guardian of readers working in the technology sector has revealed that almost three quarters of women respondents say the industry is sexist, with many more reporting they had been denied promotions and equal pay. Often the female is expected to take a career break to start a family…This can put off potential employers as it becomes a large overhead for maternity pay and providing cover. When I was thinking about a career in IT there were a lot of rumours about how females were treated and what I should expect when working in a male dominate industry.
Only half of the females in the UK who complete a degree in information technology actually pursue a career in the field. This is a very worrying figure. There needs to be some further research to find out why females choose to not continue down the path of IT.
Can you tell me any female IT role models that are talked about in the media? When I was asked this question it actually made me think and I couldn’t name one female in a technology company that is spoken about like the males in IT. We always hear about Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, but never about the successful females. Like for example Susan Wojcicki, who joined Google a year after it was founded and created the first Google Doodle alongside other features before moving to YouTube as a CEO. Another successful female is Meg Whitman who was the CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, when she resigned share prices plummeted. It’s the reality that when people picture a successful entrepreneur that can build and scale a business, they picture a man. It’s also the reality that women themselves often assume certain things are not achievable or possible. A British documentary maker summarised this perfectly: “If she does not see it, she can’t be it.”
Gender equality is a fantasy in the business technology world. Men outnumber women and it is apparently going to take around 100 odd years to reach gender parity. Not only that, there are even signs that the gender stereotypes when it comes to technology have got worse and not better: 47% of young girls believe that boys are better matched to STEM subjects, with 60% of those girls thinking STEM is too hard to learn. This, of course, is not helped by the 51% of teachers and 43% of parents who also think STEM is better suited to boys. This way of thinking is only adding to the ever-widening digital skills gap that the UK, and the world, is facing. Here at risual we are encouraged to volunteer as a STEM Ambassador to try and combat these issues and raise awareness of women in technology role, this is a great way for organisations to get involved. I feel like it’s my responsibility to give something back by trying to inspire and encourage all females to join a male dominate industry… and succeed!
Here are some facts…
Only 19% of C-suite executives in the tech industry are women.
10-20% of primary technology businesses are female owned
56% of women in technology leave min career due to:
o Low advancement and opportunities
o Low salary
o Too much travelling
o Didn’t like co-workers/boss or culture
4.8% female CEOs in fortune 500 companies
In Microsoft females account for 17% of the workforce
74% of women love working in technology, yet feel they work in unsupportive work environments
Women-led companies perform three times better than those with male CEOs.
Women represent 7% of the world’s richest tech billionaires
Women receive lower salary offers than men for the same job at the same company 63% of the time.
This is the first blog in a series to raise awareness and cover issues around women in technology and share experiences of working in the industry for 10 years. Keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment!