Doing it online since 1999
We all know that the representation of women in the C-suite (top senior executives) arena is lacking. This is very apparent in the technology sector. A recent report by Gartner states that ‘there has been no progress on inequality for a decade, with the number of female CIOs has remaining static at 14%’. (source: The Guardian). Even the mighty Google, which published a diversity report this week, states that their workforce is only made up of 30% women. It’s clear that the underrepresentation of women in the technology sector goes well beyond the C-suite.
Whilst I haven’t experienced any sort of financial or ambition-based discrimination in my current role, this hasn’t always been the case. Many years ago when I worked in web design for the financial sector it was quite the opposite (as you can imagine!). Luckily I’ve moved on from that and closed the door very firmly behind me.
At Neo I work as a digital producer in a predominately female studio environment, which in itself is quite unusual for an agency. To me it doesn’t matter what gender my colleagues are. We all have a voice, an opinion and we treat each other with respect based on intellect rather than gender. However, as a digital producer I commission and work with a lot of developers. Pretty much 99% of these are male, the only exception being the lovely Clara Grant from BrightMinded – a very talented front-end developer. On a work level this isn’t a problem as I have the utmost respect for the developers I work with, but it does seem a pity that this area of industry is not more balanced on the gender front, especially with regards to empathy and user experience.
Since January I’ve been attending events at LadiesThatUX Brighton. I also popped in to one of the SheSays events recently. It’s been really lovely and insightful to meet so many inspiring women who work in my industry. I’ve also recently enrolled on an MSc UX design course at Brighton University, and it’s encouraging to see there are women on the course. Although I’m not alone, the split is still around 30/70. Still, it gives me hope that it won’t always be such a one-sided environment.
So why aren’t there more women in technology-based roles?
When we look to statistics on social media, it’s interesting to note that over 82% of Pinterest and 64% of Facebook users are women. And as much as it is clichéd, the number of female online shoppers far out way the number of male. So, we happily use technology but we’re not necessarily helping to create it. This is a wide area for discussion, and probably not one I can solve alone, or in this blog. You can read a more about the problem here.
5 reasons why more women should be in technology
So I can’t solve the problem of underrepresentation of women in the technology sector, but I can set out some reasons why I feel more women should turn to technology as a career.
1. We did it first. We always hear talk of Charles Babbage but very little is mentioned about Ada Lovelace who is widely recognised as the world’s first computer programmer. She created the concept of a computing operating system.
2. Women are leading early adopters of technology. We love new technologies (I am still the only person I know that did online shopping and dating at uni back in 1999!). As we’re often the primary carers of our children, we can also pass on this intrigue.
3. We can build better businesses. Did you know that female-operated, venture-backed high tech companies average 12 percent higher annual revenues? Source: Why hiring women may make your business more money. FYI – you can also get paid more working as a women in technology than similar level jobs in other industries.
4. Technology really is fascinating – it’s not just for geeks! It’s for everyone, as Sue Black from Tech Mums firmly believes with her pioneering teaching approach.
5. You don’t have to know how to code. There is a gross misconception that you need to be able to code to work in technology. Whilst a knowledge of code can be beneficial, there are heaps of jobs that don’t require you to code. You can drive a car without being a mechanic – it’s more about using the amazing power of technology to make the world a better place.