How we can all drive positive change in the tech industry by supporting more women

September 25, 2022
How we can all drive positive change in the tech industry by supporting more women

For the future of tech to be as successful, as global, and as accessible as possible, business leaders within our amazing industry need to commit to creating organizations built on equity of opportunity

That responsibility falls to the founders, the HR leaders, the startup gurus, the managers, and the creators to create the sort of tech environment where everyone feels welcome.

But the workforce equity landscape is not where it needs to be. More work needs to be done to make sure our fast-growing tech communities reflect the real America – one rich with diversity, and one that is truly inclusive.

In this blog, I want to focus on women in tech, and how tech companies can pivot operations to better support women as one of much important diversity and operational conversations.


The tech and IT past and present

Tech is renowned for being a male-dominated industry.

Tech was never seen as a job for women, indeed women weren’t allowed to formally study science until the late 19th century, despite some of the most famous scientific discoveries and achievements being made by women in the preceding centuries. As we discuss below, women still only make up a fraction of the overall technical and scientific workforce in the USA. Far from being a modern issue, the limits on opportunities available to women in tech goes back to the very founding of our country.

The scientific and technology sector was also, and in some cases remains, a closed door to black and brown candidates. The tech world is littered with stories of doors slammed shut in the face of minorities, including women, all across the world:

  • Women in the United States made up only a third (34%) of those employed in STEM occupations…(with) a substantial gender gap in engineering (16% women) and computer occupations (26% women) also contributes to women’s overall underrepresentation in STEM”
  • “Despite their remarkable discoveries, women still represent just 33.3 % of researchers globally”.
  • “In Britain, for example, Europe’s main tech hub, just 15% of people working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields are women. Only 5% of leadership positions are occupied by women”.
  • “Tech work…occupations focused on the production, design, and maintenance of computer hardware, software, or networks..(has seen) women’s representation peak around 1990 and has since decreased…Women, particularly women of color, remain numerical minorities in tech”.
  • “Half of the women surveyed (52%) said that they have experienced gender bias or discrimination in the workplace”.
  • Women make up only 22% of game developers, yet represent 50% of the people who play video games”.

On and on the reports, the research, and the lists go. So where are we today? Improving, but we’ve still got some way to go.

The pandemic pushed us one step back – referring again to the TrustRadius report highlighted above, “Women in tech are nearly twice as likely as men to have lost their jobs or been furloughed due to the pandemic” – however, the writing is on the wall, and initiatives are being launched all over the country (and the world) to right a historical workforce wrong.

STEM at school

Incredible organizations like Women in Technology, in Washington D.C,, The Obama White House Archives, the National Girls Collaborative Project, and the National Math and Science Initiative are flying the flag for not only better diversity in the tech workforce, but better awareness of this issue and earlier intervention in gender-specific STEM related study drop out.

This is because intervention at school age is now seen as imperative for increasing STEM development for women and minority students. In an exhaustive piece by the American Association of University Women The STEM Gap, the figures are laid bare:

  • “Only 21% of engineering majors and 19% of computer science majors are women”.
  • “Research shows no innate cognitive biological differences between men and women in math…(and yet) many girls lose confidence in math by third grade. Boys, on the other hand, are more likely to say they are strong in math by 2nd grade”.
  • “Nearly 80% of the health care workforce are women, but only about 21% of health executives and board members are women and only about a third of doctors”.

These groups, and more, are doing the good work of raising awareness about the lack of follow-through in STEM study by girls and young women at school and beyond into a career. This will, hopefully, have a massive impact on our future STEM-based technical employer sectors, and the future of science in our country.

The tech and IT future

Both men and women can drive important change in our data science community, and anyone, no matter their age, gender, or race can champion gender parity and diversity.

This is critically important in an industry that seeks to understand and influence the lives of millions of people. While data is the lifeblood of many companies, the people who build the technical products that gather and analyze that data are very much human, and the less diverse that team of developers is, the less diverse the outcomes and developments from that data.

The people managing the platforms we use every day can easily unbalance a system that needs to be as equitable and as fair as possible.

Why? Well, consider it through the lens of just two different criteria – customer experience and revenue.

  • Customer Experience – having a more diverse team means you can better represent the broad range of service users you will undoubtedly attract. Diverse teams are, simply put, smarter, more innovative, and better at creating products are services suited to a wider range of clientele.
  • Revenue – “The most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability…companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile”.

From a tech service point of view, diversity is critical for societal, and business, good.

So how do we improve minority opportunities in our industry? I like to lean on Women In Tech’s 3 part solution to addressing gender disparity:

  • Provide practical career insights to educators and policymakers.
  • Create more support for women returning to work.
  • Share detailed information on the gender pay gap with employees and the public.

Using inquiry – and my own experience – to better
the tech industry

Using my own experiences within tech, and utilizing all of the information detailed above, I see it as imperative Focus GTS begin to take the lead on better representation within my community, and in the sector I love. Building diverse tech teams takes inquiry because every enterprise has its own set of expectations, corporate hiring history, community presence and workforce plans for the

So here is how Focus GTS and I are trying to help:

● We’re leading from the front – Focus GTS is a Woman owned company, so we’re aiming to be standard bearers for a more equitable approach to tech hiring in Florida and beyond in the coming years.

● We already work with local employers and organizations to champion women in tech.

● We’re beginning to build working relationships with non-profits focused on tech skills development, to bring the women in tech conversation to a wider audience.

● I recently hosted an industry panel event about diversity within data science, where topics around allyship and cross-gender support were some of the key
conversational targets, as we see male allies as a vital component in creating better representation within tech.

Not every recruitment strategy will suit every enterprise, and my job is to make sure what we do as a firm works best for our clients – but the most important thing we can do is continue to raise awareness about the lack of female equity within tech, and keep doing the good work of changing the sector for the better! Do you need help building a modern tech team? Do you want to diversify your tech workforce but don’t know where to start?

Then speak to Brittany, or one of our specialized recruiters, today!

Align yourself with an expert at Focus GTS.

Align yourself with an expert at Focus GTS.