Female representation in the Tech industry has been severely lacking. In fact, while women make up over 50% of the workforce in the US, in tech the numbers have been historically pretty dismal.
While female positions in IT grew significantly in the late 1980’s and 90’s, after a high water mark of 35% women in tech was reached in 1991, that number started to decline. In the last 30 years or so it has gone down nearly 10%. Today, only 25% of the tech sector jobs are filled by women.
It is a number that is basically analogous to the percentage found in traditionally male led industries like metal work, first-line police officers and clergy.
However, with the boom in tech jobs and a reaffirmed dedication to diversity, many tech companies are working to combat the gender inequality they have perpetuated. Companies like Intel and Yahoo are actively recruiting women candidates after recognizing that female representation is not only better for their social capital, and to help fight the patriarchy, but is overall better for the bottom line.
In fact, Fortune 1000 companies that employ more women in executive positions have been shown to be about 300% more successful. This may be because diversity and new perspectives have a positive effect on business in general.
In tech, there are a few major stumbling blocks that have prevented women from entering the field in a more pervasive manner. High-profile cases of misogyny like Gamergate and the rant of James Damore of Google may keep women from wanting to enter what seems to be a toxic atmosphere.
Research also shows that at a young age, girls and boys are just as likely to engage in tech related science, but that female interest begins to wane at about 11 years old. Theories posit that this is because there are a lack of mentors and role models for young women to see in Tech positions that would keep their interest peaked.
That said, now is a perfect time to recruit women for tech jobs. There is a huge boom of projected 40% growth in the sector (particularly in the cybersecurity industry) and many companies are looking specifically to help balance their gender inequality.
If lack of role models have been a problem for your female recruits there is inspiration out there to be had. Nextiva recently put together some short profiles of high ranking women in the industry and their advice as to what to focus on in order to make it in the still male-dominated area.
The best way to create gender parity in tech is to teach women and girls that there are leaders and trailblazers for them to follow. See below for more inspirational words from female tech executives.