Women in tech: let’s make the industry gender-agnostic

Of all the arguments deployed in favour of employing more women in tech, the best is almost certainly this.

You’ll make more money.

It’s common sense. Research shows that women control or influence 85 percent of consumer spending. It stands to reason that female employees might bring insights to product ideas and design that their male colleagues cannot.

The games market is a case in point. For years it was male-dominated. With the advent of mobile gaming, developers started designing products with females in mind.

By 2018 mobile gaming was a $70.3 billion market, and a reported 63 per cent of players were women and girls.

For another example, look at the rising market for femtech products geared towards female health and wellbeing. This market is projected to be worth $60.01 billion by 2027.

As digital technology continues to transform ‘mainstream’ society, more diversity in the tech sector has to be a good thing – ethically and commercially.

So, what’s the story now?

According to Deloitte Global, large global technology firms are on target for 33 percent female representation in 2022. This is 2 percentage points up on 2019. However, many of these roles are not technical. Deloitte says women in technical jobs lag the overall proportion of women by about 8 percent.

It raises the question: so what? If girls don’t fancy a job in tech, let them do something else. After all, it’s not as if society locks out women in other influential areas. In the UK, for example, two-thirds of solicitors under 35 are women.

Well, apart from the commercial potential we just referenced, there’s also the question of unfulfilled potential. Tech insiders agree that there is no difference in ability between male and female employees. It’s just that the pool of female candidates is smaller.

This is reflected in the data. For example, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of computer science research jobs will grow by 19 percent from 2021 to 2026. Yet, women currently comprise just 18 percent of computer science graduates in the US.

It does seem that many young girls simply don’t see the tech space as an option for them. A study by PwC found just 27 percent of female students would consider a career in technology, compared to 61 percent of males.

So the solution would appear to be changing the way girls think about tech when they are young. Thankfully, organisations of all types are now addressing this challenge. The global body Women in Tech, for example, is running programs all over the world – from Afghanistan to Zambia – to change attitudes. 

How will we know when these efforts have succeeded? Not necessarily when there is 50/50 representation. But simply when any woman or girl that wants a career in tech feels able to pursue one. 

It’s a position nicely summarised by Nassia Skoulikariti, GTC’s VP of IoT, when she appeared on the CC.Podcast to discuss the issue. “Let’s change the narrative. It isn’t about men versus women. It’s about working together to pave the way for the future younger generations because it should be gender agnostic”.

Check out the infographic below to assess the current representation of women in tech…