Calling for better Representation of Women in the Tech Industry

Calls for more female participation in the economy have grown louder

Step inside any office, and it’s easy to see that most aren’t staffed to be gender-equal. 

Only 26% of computing jobs are held by women. This number has been on a steady decline for years.

The turnover rate is more than twice as high for women than it is for men in tech industry jobs — 41% versus 17%. 

56% of women in tech are leaving their employers mid-career. Of the women who leave, 24% off-ramp and take a non-technical job in a different company; 22% become self-employed in a tech field; 20% take time out of the workforce; and 10% go to work with a startup company.

Why does gender diversity in technology and other sectors lead to better performance?

Researchers use the term “general collective intelligence” to refer to groups’ ability to perform well across a wide variety of tasks, and the concept is similar to general intelligence metrics for individuals, according to Topics in Cognitive Science.

Studies published in Science found that teams’collective intelligence increased with the number of women in the group.

One explanation is that the presence of women enhanced collective social sensitivity, leading to higher collective intelligence.

Some things to recognize and acknowledge –

“CIOs may have great ideas but if you can’t get the IT talent, that’s a growing problem”, Bob Miano, president and CEO of Harvey Nash USA, told The Wall Street Journal

Diversity and equality can also be anchored to the bottom line especially for investors who not only care about the ethics, but also want returns.

For companies with more gender diversity, they had, on average, 1.1 percent better ROE

( Return on Equity) than regional sector peers ~Morgan Stanley

  • Higher gender diversity teams not only enjoyed better returns, but lower volatility
  • A field experiment published in Management Science found that teams with an equal gender mix had better sales and profits than male-dominated teams

Did you Know ?

“Technology is the only STEM discipline where the participation of women has declined in the past 20 years?” Tech leader Judith Spitz

Take the first computer, for example. Six women programmed the first electronic computer — the Electrical Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) — during WWII but weren’t given credit for their work. They were even identified in photos as “refrigerator ladies,” models used to make products appear more alluring. Their groundbreaking work went unrecognized and unlauded for years.

Women collaborating on teams and in leadership roles — demonstrates the need for and impact of having more women in technology ~research By Morgan Stanley

In addition to information technology, the largest gaps came in other male-dominated functions like engineering, research and development, legal, product development, and sales

Female leaders’ influence

Based on research conducted by strengths-based leadership firm Zenger Folkman, women are often better leaders than men. The results were based on a sample of more than 7000 leaders at high performing companies.

Credit Suisse found that organizations with more women on the board of directors had better returns on equity, higher payouts of dividends, and better stock performance.

Companies that had more than 15 percent of women in top management roles earned an annual ROE of 14.7 percent. Compare that with the 9.7 percent ROE for companies where women represent less than 10 percent of top management roles.

So how can businesses attract more women in technology roles and leadership positions?

  • Focus on conscious and unconscious biases
  • Include women in hiring processes
  • Expand work-life policies
  • Acts, policies that focus better on :

what happens while women are pregnant and hiring/ promotions; pay discrimination and filing complaints against it,

Addressing the area of Prevention of Sexual harassment and awareness the way #metoo brought out in workplaces

  • Are just some high level but important and relevant ways to broaden the way we start to understand, acknowledge and be better and enabling company cultures, people in companies, and women to embrace this value
  • Educating women on careers in tech versus many retrograde beliefs around it being boring and difficult

If YOU are a business owner, solopreneur, talent development member, people manager, human –

I invite you to share what practices you are already encouraging in your workplaces

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