In America, women make up over 50% of the workforce. Despite this, women account for less than 20% of jobs in the American tech industry. Why is this? Among other reasons, it all starts at a young age. We push girls towards stereotypically “girly” toys and interests and steer them away from STEM.
Why does the tech industry lack women?
According to the Journal, two-thirds of elementary-aged children said they are interested in science. Once they’ve entered middle school, the percentage of interested girls decreases dramatically. By high school, many girls who before took advanced scientific courses tend to drop them. Because of this, fewer women go on to study in STEM fields in college. In turn, there are fewer eligible female employees in the tech industry. Staggeringly, in 2017, only 18% of computer science bachelor degree recipients were women, down from 37% in 1985.
But, this stereotyping isn’t the only reason for the extreme lack of women in the tech industry. Another huge problem is the culture of the tech industry. It often doesn’t place value on women or their opinions as it would a man. So, even if a woman has received a tech degree and gotten herself a job in the tech industry, she is seldom given equal treatment. This causes a lot of women to end up leaving the industry after a short time. According to a survey done by the Guardian, 73% of people believe the tech industry is sexist. Also, 52% of people say they are aware of women who are being paid less than men for doing the same job. Because of this, women are 45% more likely than men to leave their job within a year.
Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and an example of a strong woman and leader in tech. She comments “no industry or country can reach its full potential until women reach their full potential. This is especially true of science and technology, where women with a surplus of talent still face a deficit of opportunity”. And she is correct.
One report from McKinsey & Co found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to experience higher profitability. So, what can we do to bring more strong and talented women into the tech industry? And not to mention, bring about more success to these companies?
One of the most important things we can do to encourage more women to join the tech field is to give them examples and mentors. Seeing other women flourish in a tech industry career will only inspire more to join. One of these women is Level 365’s own saleswoman, Jenny Holden.
As a woman in tech sales, Jenny is part of a grossly underrepresented field for women. As of today, only 25% of salespeople in tech are women. Even more astonishingly, only 12% hold sales management roles.
Jenny comments “I was the only woman in sales at my first couple jobs, and it took some time to find my own sales flow. What I found worked for me is that my ability to listen first, ask questions, and THEN talk about the product is what pushed me in front of experienced salespeople. Women are natural-born empathizers, we like to listen and understand, which is why I believe women would flourish in sales roles.”
“When I first started my sales career, I didn’t have any fear and I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Over the years, I have realized that continuing to be fearlessly confident and asking questions will get you very far. It is okay to not know.”
Changing the perception and mentality of women in tech is at the forefront of an industry revolution. The return on investment for women to break into a field dominated by men is exponential. Here is Jenny’s advice for women looking to break into the tech industry.
- Be confident in who you are. Do not feel inferior the men around you, because you’re not.
- It’s okay to not know what you don’t know
- You have value— as long as you believe it
Resources for Women in Tech
There are many resources, both nationally and locally in Central Indiana, for young women looking to get into the tech industry and STEM. These include:
- Girls Who Code, which provides after-school and summer programs on coding to young girls
- Girls in Tech, which offers everything from coding courses to boot camps to hackathons and startup competitions for women
- Tech Women Network, a platform allowing women to share skills and resources and make connections
- Indy Women in Tech, which provides education, training, and support to women in central Indiana
- Women & Hi Tech, which creates a community, support network and connections between women in STEM fields in central Indiana and beyond
About Level365: Level365 offers a complete Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution with enterprise voice that is customizable and scalable for your business. Our service seamlessly integrates communication among desk phones, computers, and mobile devices to support remote teams and provide flexibility for on-campus staff. The UC platform extends beyond voice communications with Unified Messaging, Analytics, Presence, Chat/SMS, Cloud Faxing, CRM Integrations, and more.