The fact that the tech industry is predominantly male is hardly surprising. For years, men occupied the top positions, with the prevailing attitude being that women ‘weren’t good enough.’ This was particularly prevalent among developers. Women’s contributions over the past 300 years would often be belittled or overlooked.
The times have changed, however. Women can still feel the pressure or the need to prove themselves to a male colleague, manager, or investor when in reality, the only person to evaluate their worth is themselves.
We interviewed women working in client companies of ALLSTARSIT and asked them how they feel being women in tech, which obstacles they had to, or maybe still are, overcoming, and what advice they would give to women who are just starting their journey in the tech industry.
Journey to the roots
First, let’s look back in history to see how women have influenced the industry:
- 19th century – Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, takes part in writing what’s considered to be the first computer program while working with Charles Babbage.
- 20th century – the industrial revolution and World War II pushed women to interact more with technology. By 1900, 80% of telephone operators were women, and females continued to make up the majority of operators until the 1960s.
- 1940s – Kathleen McNulty, Betty Jean Jennings, Frances Bilas, Elizabeth Snyder Holberton, Marlyn Wescoff, and Ruth Lichterman were hired to set up a machine to produce ballistic tables. Their work revolutionized computer programming.
- 1940s – Hedy Lamarr suggested frequency-hopping technology as a way to prevent jamming of radio signals during World War II. This idea eventually became a precursor of modern Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology.
- 1950s – Admiral Dr. Grace Hopper created a pioneering compiler program that translated English words into machine code.
- 1960s-1980s – Annie Easley was involved in the development of energy-conversion systems and power technology, including battery technology used in early hybrid vehicles, during her career at NASA
- 1960s-1970s – Mary Wilkes made significant contributions to the development of computer operating systems. She was one of the designers of the Multics operating system, a predecessor to the UNIX operating system that is still used today.
- 1970s – Adele Goldberg and her team developed the Smalltalk-80 programming language and GUI in the 1970s, one of the first object-oriented programming languages and graphical user interfaces. The Smalltalk-80 system inspired the design of the Apple Lisa and Macintosh computers in the 1980s.
One might think there is no place for gender discrimination in 2023, especially in the context of large corporations or international companies. Nevertheless, the answers can be surprising if you ask, “How do you feel being a woman in tech?”
To gain further insight into this topic, we had the opportunity to speak with three exceptional women working in the tech field. Here’s what they had to say.
“Our company mostly consists of men, and of course, I would love to have more women among us. Women tend to have different mindsets; they think differently, and because of that, they can bring to the table things that men just can’t. However, it is not that we are not hiring them, we actually almost don’t get any applications from females.
Don’t get me wrong, but we don’t care about gender, religion, race, age, or anything else. Truly, if you are a professional, fit into the team, and have the required skill set, I will hire you even if you are a cat.
My advice for women in tech is not to be afraid: to ask, accept that you can’t know everything, and learn from your mistakes. Bring your passion, don’t listen to what people say, learn a lot, and bring results. Everything comes to those who believe in themselves and love what they are doing.”
“A woman is capable of anything!
When I enrolled at the university, I quickly realized that it would be difficult for me, as a girl, to promote myself in the hi-tech world, as there were only four of us in my group. I sometimes had to prove that I could do everything just as well as any man.
When I got my long-awaited first job as a Front End Developer, my faith in myself and the time management skills I learned at university helped me realize I could do anything I wanted!
I would also like to quote a male colleague, my team lead at the time: “I am happy to hire women, especially with children, because women have a lot of things to do besides work, such as take care of their homes and children. That is why a woman can do much more in 8 hours than a man.”
“What I love about tech companies is the environment, the fast pace, and people with different points of view. I love that your day can’t be boring when you work in tech. Here at Motiv8AI, we have 25% of female employees. Of course, there should be more.
Working in a male-dominated company can be everything: special, challenging, interesting, and sometimes even frustrating because you don’t have a lot of women to connect with and relate to you. Sometimes you are the star of the show, but sometimes you can feel ignored because you don’t watch football.
As for advice, I’d firstly like to say that I can totally understand how this can be scary, but I think the best advice would be to work on your English and other languages: written and spoken, be daring, don’t be scared, be strong and confident in your power. This way, you will surely succeed.”
A look into statistics
- Women currently hold only 26.7% of tech-related jobs.
- The percentage of women in all tech-related careers has actually decreased over the last two years.
- Women in software engineering report a lack of equal pay, making 0.93 cents for every dollar men in the field make.
- More than 50% of women in tech report gender inequality, discrimination, or sexual harassment in male-dominated environments.
- In prior years, women have received as little as 2% of all investment funds in a given year and receive far less global venture capital funding than male entrepreneurs.
- Pandemic conditions are among women’s more significant challenges, with over 50% reporting difficulties due to pandemic workplace changes.
Nowadays, large companies are hiring and encouraging more and more women to consider the tech industry, and we couldn’t be happier about that. At ALLSTARSIT, we believe in women, we trust women, and we love women. That is why 90% of our top management team is female.
To all women out there: you got this. We know it, and we believe in you.