hen you hear the word ‘technology’, what are the first names that come to mind? Is it Tim Cook, Alan Turing, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey? Why is it not a woman? Why is it not Safra Catz - the CEO of Oracle, Susan Wojcicki - the CEO of YouTube, Ginni Rometty - the CEO of IBM, or Amy Hood - the CFO of Microsoft?
Technology as we know it today wouldn't even exist if it wasn’t for the critical contributions of many women. From Hedy Lamarr who discovered the frequency-hopping signal technology which later spawned innovations such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS to Ada Lovelace who invented Scientific Computing. Women have played an indispensable role in the growth and development of technology from the very beginning. But why is it that, even though women have and continue to be a crucial part of the technology domain, it's still men that are considered to be the face of technology?
The stats are staggering. According to studies by the European Commission and Atomico, only about 17% of ICT specialists and 34% of STEM graduates are women. Not only are the women underrepresented in the tech domain, but they are also paid less too. The studies stated that, on average, women earn 19% less than men in the IT sector. If that was not enough, women also face discrimination on a regular basis as the studies further revealed that an astonishing 46% of women reported to having been discriminated against in the European tech sector. What’s more, the studies revealed that about 93% of the capital that is invested in tech enterprises goes to male-dominated start-ups, meaning that most women entrepreneurs are not even given an opportunity to prove themselves.
A study in the Journal of Management showed that even though women evidently have to overcome a greater variety of hurdles to break through the proverbial glass ceiling, they are way more likely to be fired as CEOs than male CEOs. The study also revealed that female CEOs are 45% more likely to be dismissed from their respective companies than their male counterparts. A recent report by TrustRadius showed that 78% of the women working in the tech sector feel that they have to work harder than their male counterparts in order to prove their worth. Not only that, but the report also revealed that women in the tech domain are four times more likely than men to witness gender bias as a barrier to promotion.
Even though awareness regarding the lack of women in the tech sector and the gender pay gap has increased over the years, the numbers still remain disappointing. Only 33 Fortune 500 companies have women as their leaders and only 29% of senior management in 2019 was female (Catalyst). As per the Women In Technology study by Opinium conducted on the behalf of PwC, over a quarter of female students reported feeling hesitant about considering a career in the tech domain because of its overly male dominant nature.
Women have time and again proven themselves a force to be reckoned with. The stats show that they are equally competent as leaders and are capable of leading businesses to success. A 2020 report by McKinsey found that businesses sensitive to diversity issues and with a diverse staff, perform better, retain better talent, and boast more engaged workers than enterprises that do not take diversity and inclusion seriously. While the computer science domain continues to flourish, expand, and grow, it also continues to fail in treating women correctly. Even after countless promises to do better, why are the results still so disappointing? Even though it's been proven that adding more women to your company will almost certainly only benefit you, why are tech firms still hesitant to give women the chance that they deserve?
When you try to figure out the root cause of this issue with a logical approach, you'll find the question extremely hard to answer. There has to be a scientifically proven reason why men are better at computer-related jobs than women, right? Well, you can do all the research that you want but you won’t be able to find one.
What is happening today at a business-level is actually just an augmented manifestation of something that begins at a very basic level. Our society is rigged by predefined gender roles which dictate that women aren’t supposed to be in positions of authority or power. This shows in the stats as well. According to a PwC report, only 3% of women view technology as their first choice for a profession.
The only solution to this problem is to take steps to eradicate the self-doubt that has taken hold of young girls’ minds. Steps have to be taken to ensure that young girls understand that technology is very much a viable career option and well within their reach. As multiple studies have shown, gender inequality in the tech space is an issue aggravated by multiple factors. It is thus a problem that requires a multidimensional approach in order to solve it.
An approach that encompasses methods to increase self-confidence in women and encourage them to take on more challenging roles, is an approach that also involves providing women with the resources and opportunities that they require to grow. These are the same opportunities and resources that are already available to men. Also, this change cannot come without the men in technology, who dominate the field, being more open to the prospect of women leading them. Men need to be supportive and make the work environment feel welcoming to women.
We at Gemraj Technologies Ltd understand that change doesn't happen in a day. But we also understand that in order to change the world you have to change yourself first. Change comes from within and inspires others to change. The management at Gemraj Technologies Ltd has always taken great care to ensure that the many women that we employ are respected and provided with the same opportunities as the men in the organisation. Women make up a significant part of our management team and are always involved in every organisational decision that is taken. We strongly believe in the power of diversity and that it leads to significantly enhanced productivity and innovation.