Women account for less than 20% of tech positions worldwide—yet women account for more than half of the world population! You don’t have to be a math whiz to see that these numbers don’t add up. Girls in Tech exists to empower and enable women within technology fields, helping them to accelerate their careers through education and a worldwide support network.
First, a bit of background on this issue…
Where are all the women in tech?
Indeed, where are all the women in tech? Research has shown that the lack of women in tech can be traced to three main “buckets” of issues:
Gender Stereotypes: Ever hear the term ‘brogrammer?’ No you’re not watching an episode of the Silicon Valley show on HBO. The brogrammer culture is real. Imagine: a bunch of dudes in a room, spouting off sexist jokes just as quickly as they type code. It’s a boy’s club. And this isn’t exactly friendly to women, is it?
Now, let’s take this a step further, away from the developer scenario. When I say “scientist” what image do you conjure in your head? If it’s a man with glasses in a white lab coat, you’re not alone. Gender stereotypes affect us all.
Lack of Talent Pool: Unfortunately, the stereotypes and brogrammer culture can lead to a vicious cycle of lack of talent. Many women start their college careers, deeply interested in computer science and other technology—only to become discouraged right off the bat. This leads them to swiftly change their major to a more female-friendly course or seek other industries that are more welcoming. When a woman’s ambitions don’t match with reality (read: being the lone chick in a room full of men) it’s a hard road to trudge forward on. This also affects other minority groups.
This leads to perceived lack of talent. Even for organizations who are readily willing— and eager —to hire female tech talent. We hear a lot of this: a job posted, but few or no females apply.
In-Group Favoritism: Take your notion of bias against someone and switch it around to bias in favor of someone.
For example, managers may subconsciously favor employees who have like personalities. Employees they like and relate to may be first in line to get a coveted promotion versus an equally hard-working, talented employee with a different personality. The same goes for groups of male investors who tend to favor seemingly like-minded male entrepreneurs. This “in-group favoritism” runs rampant everywhere, not just the tech sector. It’s just particularly noticeable in tech, where women are so often struggling to keep pace with their male counterparts.
Theories aside, why does tech need women?
Companies with a broad, diverse employee base outperform others. The truth lies in the numbers. Businesses with women on the executive team tend to receive higher valuations at first and last funding. And companies with women on the board of directors see a 42% higher return on sales than companies with low female representation on the board.
Here’s what Girls in Tech is doing about it
Girls in Tech seeks to combat these barriers to women in tech by providing “ammo” for women in the form of education and a vast, global support network. Girls in Tech’s proprietary programming includes boot camp workshops on the pillars of entrepreneurship—innovation, business model, go-to-market planning and more. Girls in Tech also hosts hackathons, speaker panels and workshops around the globe and online. Rather than being discouraged, women realize they are not only NOT the only woman in the room, they are meant to be celebrated. And that’s where the real magic happens, when women gain the confidence to follow their dreams no matter what road they may lead them on.
Learn more about Women in Technology!
- Girls Who Code camps sponsored by IBM
- Girls in Tech empowers women around the globe
- Imposter syndrome: Conquered after 28 years at IBM