Myths About Women in Tech
September 9, 2020|
Did you know a lot of myths exist around women/girls in the technology industry?
Did you know myths hold women back in the workplace?
Did you know myths prevent women from pursuing STEM-related courses?
According to the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap index, 2015, women make-up half the population and earn more advanced degrees than men in 100 countries… Why then are they a distinct minority in Tech?
National Centre for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) in 2016 stated that women held 57% of all professional occupations, yet they held only 25% of all computing occupations. And the numbers are even lower when considering women of colour; for example, Latinas and Black women hold only 1% and 3% of these jobs, respectively. Furthermore, even fewer women are found in software development, technology leadership, or other kinds of key roles that have a significant influence on future innovation. Consider that 88% of all information technology patents (from1980–2010) are invented by male-only invention teams while only 2% are invented by female-only invention teams. These and other statistics imply that the technology the world uses today is being created by a relatively homogeneous group of people.
A further impact of the gender gap is that it’s preventing women from playing their full role in shaping the future of our society – or in realizing the powerful potential for technology to make the world a better place. Research shows clearly that improving the world is seen as a more important goal by females than males. Working in technology can provide women with a way to do this.
There have been many attempts to answer the underrepresentation of women in tech and STEM fields in general and the answer could be in the way society views women. The society operates with a set of assumptions about women that hold them back.
Below are the 6 Myths Hindering Women/Girls’ Participation in STEM
Women aren’t strong enough to be engineers
Women are too timid to be in STEM fields
Women aren’t as good at science, technology or mathematics as their male counterparts
Women are good at soft skills, not technical ones
Women can’t be in STEM and raise a family
All of these assumptions are false. Women should be able to aspire to any field or career without preconceived limitations or biases holding them back. Women are not inherently less capable or less interested in STEM than men, and the problem of gender imbalance is not impossible to solve. There is nothing inevitable about inequality. Systemic biases limit the range of career options that many women aspire to. These biases come into effect early, impacting girls and women throughout their education before following them into the workplace.
Call to Action
The technology industry should work with the education system to develop technology teaching modules that can be delivered in schools by teachers or via virtual reality. It is important these modules particularly highlight how technology can be a force for good, which should help inspire more females to take an interest in the subjects.
There needs to be a collective effort from the technology industry to create alternative entry routes into the profession. Approaches might include increasing the availability of apprenticeships in technology, technology companies partnering with universities and offering shadowing and work experience opportunities at younger ages.
Get more females interested in technology as a viable career option and give access to more role models at all levels.
Ensure that the technology sector provides an attractive and inclusive working environment and that people can reach their full potential.
Community advocacy to help change cultural norms.