IWD 2018: Women in Tech
It’s International Women’s Day 2018 and a good time for us to reflect on how far gender parity has improved in the 100 years since women in the UK received the vote. While the achievements of women over the past century can be seen in everything from politics to business to sports, the progression of women working in STEM-related careers, including IT, remains woefully low, compared to other industries.
Campaign groups speak loudly of mentoring and supporting women in companies through the executive pipeline towards Board level. In reality, in STEM this support and encouragement needs to start at a much earlier age – at primary school – if we are to see more women entering these subjects early on and subsequently forging careers in IT.
The rallying call of this year’s International Women’s Day is #PressforProgress. The World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report has revealed that gender parity is over 200 years away. We can all agree that is too slow.
From a business perspective, it is becoming widely accepted by companies globally that the range of different ideas, opinions and voices created by diverse teams – whether that be gender, sexuality, religion, race etc. – helps to drive better corporate decisions regarding everything from profitability through to employee satisfaction programmes, helping companies to work more efficiently and to compete harder against their peers. In essence, greater female representation just makes good business sense.
With women representing 50% of the population, it’s in our society’s interests to try and bring the WEF’s prediction forward significantly. In tech, we need to all work towards the goal of positively influencing girls and women at all levels in their career to develop, grow and further their professional journey within the technology industry / IT industry. By staying within the industry and continually developing their career, the percentage of senior women should continue to increase, and companies will benefit as a result.
Now that’s one reason on its own to make gender parity a priority!