Why The Future of Technology Depends on Women and Diversity
As technology continues to supersede innovation and advancement, the tech sector itself, massively lags when it comes to the representation and advancement of women. Even though information technology is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S., it is notorious for remaining a male-dominated industry, with women only representing 24% of all full time computing roles.
As we pass the year marker of “operating” under pandemic conditions, women are now faced with future progress towards equality being jeopardized by a crisis that disproportionality affects them. Despite national conversations about gender equality and diversity in technology, women continue to fight the uphill battle for equal representation amongst their male peers.
In honor of Women’s History Month we will try to bridge the employment gap for women in technology and discuss some steps to take to be successful.
How Covid-19 Affected Women in Tech
With millions globally feeling the impact of job loss, economic instability, social isolation and adjusting to virtual school and work environments, women were exceedingly affected by Covid-19. Even though the tech sector itself was minimally affected by Covid-19, women had to carry the extra burdens caused by the abrupt and sharp shift in everyday life, creating a tug of war between industry development and social barriers.
Since the start of the pandemic, research shows that 48% of women in tech, found juggling work and family life extremely overwhelming and directly attributed Covid-19 with delays in their career(s). Women also reported higher burnout rates versus their male counterparts due to the influx of family adjustments and the need to work overtime. 63% of mothers working in tech confirm that they have done most of the home schooling or educational assistance for their children, in addition to being burdened with the extra home duties. Due to the sudden surge of extra family responsibilities 40% of women in IT held back from pursuing career changes due to family and home pressures. It is also reported, that during the pandemic, women (8%) in tech were statistically more likely to lose their jobs versus their male counterparts (5%). This is directly attributed to women having less seniority or senior-level roles than men.
The number of women projected to remain (or join) the tech workforce is shrinking and will be within crucial levels in the next decade. Even though it is well known that the underrepresentation of women is a problem, Covid-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities. With future economic growth and stability hinging largely on the tech sector it is vitally important to incorporate women into the fold to avoid a potential economic crisis.
How “The Representation Gap” Affects Everyone
It’s no secret, women think differently than men. Both men and women bring unique ideas to the table, however, the more interaction with a diverse group- the more opportunity for better problem solving techniques to be applied, and innovation to be born. Reports indicate that on average, companies that promote diversity and equality, outperform their underrepresented peers by 34% and companies that had women in multiple leadership roles saw over a 60% increase in their return on investment.
The advocacy for women in senior-level management roles is a starting point to closing the representation gap. The diversification and addition of women in leadership provides an opportunity for more mentorship to encourage women to pursue STEM education and STEM careers (this encouragement is even more vital for young girls being introduced to tech). In order to embolden more women into IT, tech companies and their senior leadership must identify instances where bias could likely influence the future career path(s), decision-making, and prevent common equality blockers.
Studies show that diversity alone is not enough, inclusion is also necessary for success. So often companies lump diversity and inclusion together as one, however, diversity won’t work without inclusion. It is paramount that women start being included in the decision making processes and conversations. Representation does matter and having women in leadership roles, demonstrates that there is availability for women to advance and be mentored within that company.
How to Be Successful
Regardless of how many years of experience you may have, IT certifications, and solid IT training are the biggest assets in your job search or advancement, regardless of gender. Having an IT certification validates your knowledge and skills without having the need for a college degree and minimizes any degree gap between you and your peers. Whether you are seeking a high demand cloud computing certification or interested in getting certified in risk, the opportunities are endless.
Entry-level to senior-level TechSherpas 365 offers certifications that include everything you need to pass your certification exam(s) and be successful in IT.