“Every company needs technology, and yet we’re graduating fewer women technologists. That is not good for society. We have to change it.” – Melinda Gates
According to a 2015 report by CNET, companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter have less than 20 percent women in technical roles, with women making up only 10 percent of Twitter’s technical staff.
Why aren’t there more women in tech?
The answer seems to be society, perception, and schools. As early as kindergarten, boys are expected to do better in math than girls. At the first Vouge Code Summit in Sydney, Aubrey Blanche, Atlassian’s global head of diversity and inclusion said, “When it came out in the ’80s computers were marketed to little boys. In continuing that conversation we are giving boys a 10-year head start.”
Nathalie Christmann-Cooper, a web designer and founder of SheCodes Web design and co-founder of TreatOut.com, says a lack of role models is part of the problem.
Fortunately, she is an excellent role model.
It isn’t all how the world perceives women. It is also how women have learned to see themselves. In 2014, the University of California Berkeley changed the name of an introductory computer science course from Introduction to Symbolic Programming to Beauty and the Joy of Computing, and female enrollment increased by 50%.
Cosmo has an interesting article about the experiences of women in tech titled What No One Tells You About Working in Tech as a Woman. It not only gives you insight into a woman working in a tech job but some interesting statistics.
A paper published by Deloitte makes these points:
- Both men and women are twice as likely to hire a man for an IT job as an equally qualified woman.
- US female Web developers make 79 cents to the dollar men make for the same job.
- A UK study states that 37 percent of women in IT say that they have been passed over for promotion because of their gender.
- Potential issues beyond pay and promotion include a hostile or sexist ‘brogrammer’ culture.
Does it matter if tech is a ‘man’s world’?
There are some job sectors that are traditionally male. After all, over 80% of Australia’s mining and construction jobs are held by men. The answer is, yes, it does make a difference.
Diversity and inclusion is a buzz phrase lately and for a good reason. Companies with diversity and inclusion policies are proven to outperform companies without them. Gender diversity makes a difference.
- McKinsey research shows that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same.
- Catalyst research points out that companies with more women on the board statistically outperform their peers over a long period of time.
- Deloitte Australia research tells us that inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80% in team-based assessments.
- Forbes makes a case for women and minorities as the future of tech.
All the research points to a diverse and inclusive business having an edge. It is a basic idea but often overlooked. Hire the best person for the job, no matter if that person is a minority, gay, has a different religion, is a much older or younger person than you had in mind, or if that person is a woman.
Australia is a diverse country – a land with large cities and vast areas without a person in sight. There are deserts and miles of coastline. People of many races and religions call Australia home. Embrace that diversity in your company. Hire the best man for the job, especially if that man happens to be a woman.