Remind the tech gender gap

Minding the gap is mandatory, reminding it can take us a step further.

April 4, 2022

By: Sofia

We couldn’t let March slip away without dedicating an article that highlights the importance of women in tech and our commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion. Even though it’s easy to be deceived and think that the women’s rights gap is becoming thinner in the Western world, numbers speak and the truth is we still have to overwork to reach equality in so many areas it can seem disheartening. 

Despite all the efforts and quite a few achievements, women are still struggling to get fair job and degree opportunities, equal payments, leadership role positions, and recognition in our tech world. We’re not going to analyze a whole bunch of numbers but going over a few may help us paint the picture. 

Although women’s participation in tech roles has steadily increased in the past few years, a 2020 study shows that women make up only 28.8% of the tech workforce. If we project the increase rate, it would still take at least 10 years for women to achieve equal representation. 

Salary-wise, men make 61% more than women and only 5% are in leading positions in the tech industry. 

Regarding higher education, while 53% of men who majored in computer science are working in their expertise field, the same happens only to 38% of women. 

Of course, all these numbers drop heavily and become scarier if we consider how ethnic gaps affect the female population in the tech job scenario.  

Acknowledging the unconscious bias

We need to understand that gender bias, as well as many other biases, is commonly unconscious. Even though we might think we don’t discriminate and we truly believe in equality, we are probably not impartial and we’re relying on our unconscious biases to make hiring or affinity decisions. 

Although we can blame our brain for trying to save us time by categorizing information, the thing is that when it comes to gender, racial or discrimination biases, our brain’s “help” becomes a very dangerous weapon that can lead to misjudgments and stereotyping. Acknowledging the bias helps us break the pattern. But this alone is not enough.

Awareness isn’t the goal, it’s just the beginning

While becoming aware of the gender gap is definitely the first step, it needs to be followed by a second step: putting it into practice. 

Unfortunately, most awareness campaigns fail in this second step. Action is so necessary, we are constantly bombarded by information in order to become aware of existing problems but we need to make things happen. If we really want to close the gender gap we need to start taking some straight-forward measures, and these are some of our suggestions:

  • First of all, we suggest taking a few minutes to think about how we can contribute to solving the problem from our position. This may not be so obvious at first. We can organize workshops, online brainstorming, and surveys to help us gain insight and new ideas. Surveys can also help us know how women feel in the company and what challenges they face so we can offer solutions to real problems. 
  • During hiring processes, try to blind screen applications leaving out names, photos, and personal information. Remember always to evaluate candidates based on their skills and relevant merits for the position. This is not only useful for gender bias but it will also work with other types of biases such as ageism, name bias, beauty bias, skin color bias, etc. 
  • Encouraging young girls to learn tech can really make a difference, so if you happen to teach or have a niece who is interested in programming, make sure to do your part. 

Diverse teams always win

McKinsey & Company has conducted a popular research that shows that the companies with more diversity in their teams become the most successful for obvious reasons. We all see the world through different eyes and we can solve specific issues better if we can relate. We wouldn’t, for example, expect a man to know from personal experience which are the best solutions for nipple discharge. Understanding customer needs is easier if our staff is diverse and can relate to different issues and it is proven that both creativity and productivity are higher than in less diverse teams. So what are you waiting for? Help raise awareness, and more importantly, remember to lead by example!