While Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg have become household names, the same can’t be said for their female counterparts at some of the world’s most powerful companies.
In fact, a recent report by PwC found that only 22% of students can name a famous female in tech, despite OpenAI CTO Mira Murati, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, Oracle CEO Safra Catz and Canva CEO & Co-founder Melanie Perkins frequently hitting the headlines. By comparison, 66% could name a famous man working in the sector.
There are a myriad of reasons for gender disparity in the tech industry: girls are less likely to study STEM subjects as they are systematically discouraged from science and math. It has also been found that parents and teachers frequently underestimate girls’ mathematical abilities as early as preschool age.
Additionally, women breaking into the sector often find that the industry as a whole is too male-dominated and off-putting as a viable career option — women only make up 28% of the workforce in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and men still hugely outnumber women majoring in most STEM fields in college.
There’s also an intrinsic discord when it comes to promotion, with women in entry-level positions less likely to be promoted to the first level of managerial positions, meaning the talent pool becomes even more male-dominated in upper management.
For women with children, the stats get even more dismal — new figures from Pew Research Center show that only 75% of mothers are active in the workplace, compared to 94% of fathers.
Compound this with the data which shows that women who do manage to achieve leadership positions are leaving in droves and you can start to understand why only 15% of tech startup founders are female.
So what can be done to rectify this problem?
Fixing the broken rungs
“To make sustained progress toward gender equality, companies need to focus on getting more women into leadership and retaining the women leaders they have,” says Bob Sternfels, global managing partner of McKinsey & Company, which conducted a 2022 Women in the Workplace report with LeanIn.org.
He adds, “setting goals for representation in management and senior leadership, really investing in coaching and sponsorship, and experimenting with effective hybrid working models […] can help companies deliver on the promise of gender equality in their enterprises.”
Climbing the ladder
For those working in tech who want to climb the ladder, even if several rungs are currently broken, aligning yourself with a company that is addressing the gender gap is essential.
For starters, check out company websites, and assess how many women are holding senior positions. You can also research the male-to-female employee ratio via company LinkedIns.
Next, check the company’s values via its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policy and its environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies. Studies by McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group show that hiring a more diverse workforce generates higher revenues so it pays — literally and figuratively — to work for a company that is tackling the issue head on.
Once you have this information to hand, start your search via the VentureBeat Job Board. It features thousands of roles in progressive tech companies that are fostering gender balance in the workplace, like the three below.
Autodesk is committed to nurturing young tech talent through its various collaborations with organizations and universities across the U.S. These include Girls Who Code, Society of Women Engineers and Women in Science and Engineering.
It is seeking a Client Platform Architect to define and drive the platform strategic direction from a technical perspective, serving as both an information resource to executive management regarding existing performance/capabilities, and as the product/technology’s “visionary”, providing executive management with a grasp of its future capabilities and technical potential. View more information here.
According to Accenture’s CEO Julie Sweet, “inclusion and diversity is embedded in everything we do –every decision we make and action we take — and remains a key enabler of our business results.” The company’s Silicon Design Group is recruiting an Integration Engineer to work on the design flow to establish synthesis runs with the related timing constraints, perform Lint, CDC, DFT checks, support regression and release process and analyze STA timing results. See the full job description here.
Meanwhile, Lowe’s is working to ensure better female representation in its workforce via its Bring Her Back initiative which provides support to mothers returning from maternity leave or women returning from a career break. It is hiring a Senior Product Designer- UX to join its team in Charlotte. In this role, you drive overall design decisions and lead the tactical design work associated with assigned projects. This includes responsibility for delivering design maps, user journeys, wireframes, supporting visuals, prototypes and pixel perfect design comps. Get more information here.
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