In 2023, diversity is more critical than ever before. Unfortunately, only around 20% of computer jobs are occupied by women. In engineering, the numbers are even lower at just above 10%. Research implies that by increasing the number of women working in the IT industry, we could generate over £2 billion extra each year for the UK economy.
What barriers are women currently facing within the tech industry?
It all starts with how women are educated. Usually, science and technology subjects are pushed towards males as opposed to females. The unconscious bias of recognising these types of subjects masculine needs to be worked on.
In addition, due to women being underrepresented, there are limited role models for young women to look up to in the tech industry. This has caused young women to be attracted to different sectors instead, where there is wider representation, such as teachers and beauticians.
How can having more women working in tech benefit the industry?
Unfortunately, having women underrepresented in the technology sector has led to products and services failing to appeal to them. An excellent example of this is when Apple first released their health app back in 2014. Whilst the app was impressive and offered the ability to track all kinds of health functions, it failed to tailor to one very important function - menstruation. This clearly shows the impact of having limited women in the tech industry.
Therefore, a focus on wide representation in organisations needs to be implemented, especially in leadership positions.
How can we increase the number of women working in tech?
Whilst the issue of the limited number of women in tech starts with education, we need to focus on developing more STEM subject graduates. It is absolutely vital that young women are encouraged to study STEM subjects, and that they are assisted in getting IT and tech work opportunities to gain experience and knowledge of the sector from a younger age. Tech employers also need to seek female workers and shift their attitudes towards the female population to encourage more women to join the tech industry. By applying positive bias towards women, tech companies can help to increase the number of women working within the industry.
What is the future for women working in the technology industry?
Finally, the stigma around women working in tech is disappearing. The more initiatives and schemes the industry implements to encourage women to work in tech and to aid them in being successful in their roles are vital for improving the industry as a whole as well as helping the UK to bring in more for the economy. As a collective, we need to remove the stigmas behind women working in this type of role and celebrate it instead.