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March 16, 2020

Women and Tech: The Uncomfortable Truth

There’s no denying that tech has always been a male dominated field. But, if you believe what you read, it looks as though the tide is turning. Reuters, for example, recently claimed that female representation in tech was “getting better”, but with one major caveat: that the higher up the levels of seniority you go, the less likely you are to see a woman.

Amir M
Amir M

There’s no denying that tech has always been a male dominated field.

But, if you believe what you read, it looks as though the tide is turning. 

Reuters, for example, recently claimed that female representation in tech was “getting better”, but with one major caveat: that the higher up the levels of seniority you go, the less likely you are to see a woman.

It seems as though, despite thousands of news articles and opinion pieces about needing more women in tech, something’s still not right. What is it that we’re missing?

With that question in mind — and in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th — we want to take a closer look at women in our industry. We’ll go beyond the headlines to see what the data is really telling us — to discover the real, uncomfortable truth about women in tech. 

The modern narrative: what story are we telling the world?

Let’s begin by looking at how female tech workers are presented in the media.

It’s confusing, to say the least. On the one hand, women are often celebrated as being the most exciting of entrepreneurs, especially in SaaS. But on the other, many media outlets decry the tech industry for its lack of female representation

It’s this dichotomy which forms the crux of the women in tech debate, fueling passionate discussions about the role women can and do play, as well as the ubiquitous gender pay-gap conversation.

Need an example of this contradiction in action? Just look at the recently announced “Female Entrepreneurship Fund” set up by the Royal Bank of Scotland. It’s become the topic of some fierce discussion because, while it’s offering preferential funding to female-led businesses, there are those who believe it shouldn’t have to do this. After all, what does that say about the ability of women to match their male counterparts, without special measures?

But, put another way, the fact such a support system needs to exist is proof that gender equality still isn’t quite there.

You could argue both sides of the story until the day is through. So let’s turn to the data: what’s that telling us?

The unvarnished (and data-driven) truth of women in tech

Sometimes the best way to get a straight answer is to look at the numbers. After all, they don’t lie, right? Well… let’s see for ourselves. 

Here are some essential statistics about the role of women in technology as of March 2020:

Okay, we hit you with a lot of statistics there, so feel free to take a few moments to absorb it all. 

It certainly makes for sobering reading, but there’s something lurking below the surface — especially in those last two statistics.

Glancing at this list, you’d be forgiven for assuming, “Hey, women just don’t like technology”. And, sure, that’s a possibility — but it doesn’t seem very realistic, does it? Women are above-average users of smartphones and tablets, so why would they be so disengaged?

Putting usage habits aside, let’s zero in on that last statistic: only 16% of women have had a career in tech suggested to them. Suddenly we’re beginning to open a line of thinking which puts a little bit of pressure on that glass ceiling. Perhaps some women don’t consider a career in tech because that’s the way it’s always been.

But this is 2020, and it’s time to turn that trend around.

The future is male and female, don’t you think?

So, where does the truth lie in this debate?

In reality, as with many things in life, the truth can probably be found somewhere between the media narrative and the hard numbers. That said, if we can get more women understanding that, Hey, a career in tech could be a real option, then the stats are likely to improve.

But where does that leave the leadership issue?

Well, over time, as more women enter the tech industry on more junior levels, there will be a greater pool of talent to step up to management roles. This, in turn, will inspire and attract more women into the sector.

In fact, events like International Women’s Day present a prime opportunity to raise awareness of career options for women. Whether that’s tech entrepreneurship, or some other form of leadership role, the so-called glass ceiling should never be a barrier for anyone with true passion. And in 2020? The cracks might just be starting to show, slowing revealing a tech industry where men and women sit side-by-side, from the developers’ table to the C-Suite.

At Blackcreek, we pride ourselves on our transparency. Everything we create is done with purpose, and without agenda — we always check our ego at the door. If you’d like to create your next project with a diverse group of vibrant, free-thinking personalities — including smart, inspiring women — we’ll be waiting for your call.



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