LEADERSHIP / OCT. 08, 2013
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Lack of Women in Tech Positions: What is Going Wrong?

I am pretty sure that most of you will agree that the technology industry is traditionally populated by men and it has been missing out on the grace that emerges from having a blend of viewpoint, experience and background. Diversity in the workplace is central to promoting great ideas and driving innovation.

Technology is a field that is integrated with everything nowadays. Contemporary tech workplaces require a proportional number of male and female employees to ensure competitiveness. But a glance at the figures regarding women opting for technology careers prove that there is still a margin for improvement.

What do the stats say?  

According to research by Penn Schoen and Berland (PSB), nearly 63% percent of teens have never considered a career in engineering. In another study by Girl Scouts of America, only 13% of female teens say a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) related career would be their first choice. On the other hand, PSB revealed that 74% of teens that chose engineering did so after recognizing the economic benefits and impact they can have on the world.

Moreover, according to the U.S. arm of the Harvey Nash Group and the data center provider TelecityGroup only 9% percent of U.S. chief information officers (CIOs) are female. Last year, that figure was 11% while in 2010, it was 12%.

Meanwhile, a White House report on the state of women's employment in the U.S., released in April 2013, showed that women make up only 25% of all STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers.

Why do we have fewer women in technology?

Well, it's not to say that women are not capable of excelling at technology-related tasks. The problem is rather that perfectly capable women are not choosing tech positions. Based on the figures stated above, I speculate that women might have not yet realized the variety of options that are available in tech fields and the benefits that come with pursuing a technical background. The low percentage of female teens choosing a career in applied sciences indicates that tech careers are simply not a popular choice for them.

Lack of concern/interest is also another factor that discourages women in choosing a tech career path. According to Harvey Mudd’s President, Maria Klawe, “One is they think it’s not interesting. Number two, they think they wouldn’t be good at it. Number three, they think they will be working with a number of people that they just wouldn’t feel comfortable or happy working alongside.”

Education and tech industries should work hand in hand to change this male-dominated culture in tech fields. If we fail to act, then we run the risk suffering from the underutilization of talent. How in your opinion can women invade into the field of technology and what should be done by society in general to promote this? Comment below.

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