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Here is why the tech industry needs to be open to change to achieve gender parity

Investment & Research

Lucy Skoulding


Lucy is an editor in the charity sector, a journalist and author currently studying for a Masters in Human Rights alongside working. Currently working as a senior editor and content officer at charity and funder, Local Trust while also working as a journalist and editor on a freelance basis. She also runs Starlight Editing, a books editing business focusing on diversifying the industry and helping under-represented authors.

In the spirit of International Women’s Day and National Career Week the following conversation can broadly be divided into three. It’s all about raising awareness, celebrating the achievements of all women and highlighting the work we still need to do.

This year’s theme – DigitALL – innovation and technology for gender equality – is very apt as it’s all about championing the need for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education.

While the technology industry has made great strides towards gender parity, there is still a long way to go. Some women do still feel they face explicit discrimination in the workplace while others are affected by the fact women are still underrepresented in senior leadership positions and in specific job roles.

Ultimately, we are aiming for working environments in the technology industry and beyond where everybody, whatever their gender, race, age, sexuality, or social background can thrive.

The current truth

Women have been undervalued and underrepresented in sectors and workplaces for a long time, which has caused persistent inequality when it comes to gender. This has real consequences – according to Women in Tech, the technology industry remains one of the sectors with the biggest pay gap. As of 2022 it stood at 16%, exceeding the national average of 11.6% by quite a way.

In the tech industry, this is a result of a multitude of factors, but stereotyping and systemic bias are huge contributors. Currently just 16% of women have had a tech career suggested to them compared with 33% of men.

Currently, PwC adds, 78% of women cannot name a famous woman working in STEM. In society we need to keep on highlighting the successes and achievements of women in STEM, so that young women feel they can have an interest in and passion for it.

This why our piece today is exploring the importance of achieving gender parity and what changes need to be made to achieve this.

Benefits for businesses

While organisations should be working towards gender equality for the sake of their employees, research shows that businesses also benefit hugely from having a diverse workplace.

Women and other underrepresented groups of people bring a range of diverse experiences, viewpoints, ways of working and skillsets to job roles – a variation that wouldn’t be possible if a company is intent on hiring just one type of person.

It’s a well known fact that Fortune 500 companies that have more women on boards do much better financially than those that don’t – higher sales and profits are directly linked to better gender diversity.

The Centre for Creative Leadership conducted their ‘What Women Want’ survey in 2022 and found that more women in the workplace makes a company a much better place to work for everyone. Organisations with a higher percentage of women among their staff predict more job satisfaction and organisational dedication as well as less burnout.

How to bring about lasting change

Companies should lead the way

If a business wants to actually make a difference in terms of influencing the women in tech space, it must be prepared to make changes to the way it runs and operates.

Accenture’s 2021 Resetting Tech Culture study shared five key areas companies should address in order to retain women in their workforce.

These include creating a work environment that supports women and having a workplace where employees are recognised for their talents, creativity and innovation.

Offering role models

Currently only 5% of leadership roles in the tech sector are held by women, PwC research found.

But it’s important for women to have present-day role models in the company they work for and in general in their sector – and that includes in the tech industry.

These need to be current role models – women working in the sector right now – and not just famous individuals from history.

Flexible working

The rise of flexible working – and the ability to work remotely – is playing an important role in making workplaces more equal.

According to ITWire, it means more men are sharing the household and family caring load alongside working.

But more than this, workplaces need to be supporting women to have a work life balance and helping to banish the notion that you ‘can’t do both’. The myth that you can’t have a career and a family has long been fed to women – workplaces must eliminate this by encouraging all parents to attend their child’s school play or sports day – and this is much more achievable by offering flexible working.

Beyond the workplace

To fully address the issue of gender equality at work, actions must extend beyond the workplace. Everyone must be treated as equals even in childhood, regardless of their gender or any other aspect of them as people.

In particular, girls should be encouraged to take STEM subjects and pursue STEM-based careers as currently only 3% of women say a technology career is their first choice, according to research from PwC.

In summary…

Ultimately, organisations need to be open to change and they need to be ready to work for it. More and more discussions around building inclusive and equal workplaces are happening, but everyone needs to be on board and embracing this as a common goal. Organisational change alongside policy interventions which promote gender diversity in the tech sector and beyond is the way forwards.

This is absolutely crucial for women. Half of women say it’s really important to them to feel like the work they are doing makes the world a better place – if they were shown the power of technology to transform the world, they may be more likely to follow a tech-based career.

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