Women in technology and science are evolving big time
Diversity is critical for women in technology and science, as it enables companies to create better and safer products that take everyone into consideration, not just one section of society. However, it was found that diverse companies perform better, hire better talent, that have more engaged employees, and retain workers better than companies that do not focus on diversity and inclusion. Despite this, women remain widely underrepresented in the roles.
From the following nine facets of work for women in technology and science, ranging from higher education to workplace environment, paint a clear picture of the challenges women face in finding equal footing in a career in technology and science.
A Like-Minded Approach to Product Development
Women inclusion in companies may be crucial to success. Here’s how women in the tech and science can help add positive value. Despite women making up nearly 50% of our total population, there is a lack of women in the technology and science who can influence the products accordingly. More roles being filled by women in technology and science, as mentioned, leads to better organizational outcomes. Job growth for women in tech could mean women are more likely to influence their company and its culture. Better able to represent women and their needs as a consumer. Higher gender inclusivity in the technology and science industry can not only create value for consumers that identify as women, but may also help boost the economy.
Diversity of Thought:
Women in technology and science industry also create value through diversity of thought. Collaboration between different genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities and races can lead to enhanced problem solving and increased innovation. It shows us that diversity among teams helps them make better business decisions. Gender diversity sheds more light on an organization’s opportunities and vulnerabilities. This heightened awareness means gender-diverse teams can be more efficient and better able to make crucial decisions twice as fast and with half of the meetings. Adopting gender diversity can help companies experience these far-reaching benefits.
The Employment Gap:
Women make employment less than 50% percent, they mainly hold computing roles, according to women working in technology and science, Asian women make up just 5% of that number, while Black and Hispanic women accounted for 3% and 1%, respectively. All this despite the fact that the growth of STEM jobs has outpaced the growth of overall employment in the country, growing 79% since 1990 while overall employment has grown 34%. Despite national conversations about the lack of diversity in tech, women are disproportionally missing out on this boom.
The Degree Gap:
More women than ever are earning STEM degrees — and they are catching up to men in earning bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering (S&E) subjects. But when you isolate by field of study, women earned only 19% of computer science degrees at the bachelor level. Still, while women are less represented in undergrad CS departments, those who do pursue computer science degrees are more likely to dive more deeply these days, as the percentage of master’s degrees in computer science earned by women rose to 31% in 2016, up from 28% in 1997.
The Retention Gap:
Once a diploma is earned, the real work begins, and here the numbers for women in technology and science are perhaps even more troubling. Approx. only 38% of women who majored in computer science are working in the field compared to 53% of men. Similarly, approx. only 24% of women with an engineering degree still work in engineering, compared to 30% of men. This is a consistent trend that has been dubbed a “leaky pipeline,” where it’s difficult to retain women in STEM jobs once they’ve graduated with a STEM degree.
Workplace Culture Gap:
Women aren’t entering technology and science jobs at the same rate as men — and one reason can be traced back to male-dominated workplaces. Approx. 50% of women said they had experienced gender discrimination at work, while only approx. 19% of men said the same. The numbers were even higher for women with a postgraduate degree (62%), working in computer jobs (74%) or in male-dominated workplaces (78%). When asked whether their gender made it harder to succeed at work, approx. 20% of women said yes and 36% said sexual harassment is a problem in their workplace. In addition to increasing the likelihood of gender-related discrimination against women, male-dominated workplaces pay less attention to gender diversity (43%) and cause women to feel a need to prove themselves all or some of the time. As a comparison, of women working in environments with a better gender-diversity balance said they experienced gender-related discrimination at work, they felt their organization paid “too little” attention to gender diversity, and that they felt a need to prove themselves.