Women account for 57% of the American workforce. That percentage is skewed when it comes to women in tech. Only 25% of STEM positions are occupied by women, however. What's causing this statistical discrepancy?
Similarly, only 14% of computer science degrees go to women. In fact, the number of women working in technology has been declining in recent years. Women in tech accounted for 37% of STEM positions in 1985. That number had fallen to 14% by 2010.
Despite the societal inertia, women are gaining ground in the technology sector. The women in tech trend is growing, and it doesn't show any sign of slowing.
Why Having Women In Tech Is Important
Women are the single most significant economic group in the world. Their decisions impact up to 85% of financial decisions in the United States. They are responsible for $4.3 trillion in annual spending.
Women are the largest consumers of media and culture in the United States. They also play the most video games and have more plans to purchase electronic devices than other demographics.
Having women in the technology sector isn't just a bid to learn how to sell products and services to women, however. It's good business sense.
WalMart has reported findings that diverse teams are the most efficient working configuration possible. They regularly outperform groups of a company's most successful individuals.
Having more diverse voices in every industry is more representative of the multi-cultural, interconnected world in which we're living. Even Hollywood, the slowest and most lumbering of industries to evolve, is embracing diverse voices and perspectives.
Hollywood isn't known for their charity or their ideology. If Hollywood is embracing diversity, it's because it makes sound business sense.
Having women working in tech is a good strategy for business owners. It's vital for our future as a society, as well.
More jobs are coming from tech than any other industry. Considering how many traditional business configurations are being disrupted in new and surprising ways, this trend isn't likely to slow down anytime soon.
The subtle forces that prevent women working in the technology sector from holding a representative percentage of the industry must be addressed. That glass ceiling could end up relegating women to the cellars of emerging new sectors if we're not careful.
Defining Technology Jobs
Data is difficult to parse and analyze in these days of divisive headlines and controversial content to drive Internet traffic. People's opinions on women in tech are divided, like pretty much every major issue that's important to society.
Some claim that there aren't any women in tech at all. This claim doesn't jive with the gushing onslaught of listicles and round-ups published in the last few years. The difference in opinion requires a little bit of clarification.
The website TheMuse.com defines women in tech as anyone who can write code. When you, the statistics shift dramatically. Only about 33% of the women in tech on the lists above are actual coders.
Being clear on our definitions of technical jobs is essential to gain a clear perspective on this nuanced topic. Digging into the numbers a little more in-depth reveals age-old gender stereotypes that are holding women in tech from rising to their full potential.
The technology sector is massive. It's comprised of many moving parts. Not all of these parts are valued the same.
You could break down the complicated digital economy into significant camps for ease of understandability. Front-end developers are those that are responsible for the finished product. They are the face of a tech company, as well as its voice.
Back-end developers are the ones responsible for the technical heavy lifting. They are responsible for writing the code that forms the foundation of technical products. If this were construction, back-end developers would be the architects and engineers who draw up the blueprints.
The difference in valuation isn't an issue in and of itself. Coding is complicated, and coders deserve to get paid. It only becomes problematic in light of the reality that more men tend to be back-end developers. Back-end developers tend to earn a lot more than their front-end counterparts.
This discrepancy speaks to the assumption that women are more social than men. Women tend to get shuffled into service industry jobs and positions that require intense socialization.
Men are assumed to be more analytical, more prone to process-oriented tasks and systemic work. Looking at these numbers show these gendered considerations still very much exist, despite our best efforts to get more women working in technical fields.
Society tends to have a vision of the brilliant coder as a slightly antisocial, nerdish man. Steve Wozniak or Bill Gates would be the prime example. This hasn't always been the case, however.
Women working in the technology industry were instrumental in the early stages of the Internet. The class distinction between various types of tech jobs didn't exist until the Internet emerged as the juggernaut of digital commerce we know it as today.
Why The Technology Sector Needs To Be More Inclusive
Diversity is essential in every industry. Technical careers need to have an equal representation of the many kinds of people that make up our interconnected world. How can tech companies hope to solve the problems of tomorrow if they don't allow everyone to be heard?
To thrive as a society, we need to move past these reductive gender stereotypes. They're inaccurate and cause great harm. Every woman isn't inherently social the same way that every woman's eyes aren't blue. Every individual is made of a unique constituency of parts.
It's up to the tech industry to take advantage of every individual's unique skills and talents.
The rising trend of women in tech is reflective of where we are headed, as a species. Technology is supposed to be the Great Democratizer. It's supposed to help us transcend our biological and societal limitations towards creating a fair and just society.
Ready To Help Shape The Future Of Technology?
We strive to find the most innovative entrepreneurs from all walks of life, no matter who they are or where they come from. Check out our full list of entrepreneur services to find out how we can help your startup take flight!