Pay discrepancies, non-inclusive work culture, lack of representation in leadership, the constant need to prove skills and abilities, demeaning comments, harassment, stereotypes, bias, and discrimination… are some of the forms through which many women in tech face inequality today.
Outrageous Statistics About Women In The Tech Industry
While this inequality can come in every industry, it seems particularly prevalent in the male-dominated tech industry. Women make up roughly 25% of the workforce in the tech industry, according to Fortune data. They also revealed that the quit rate for women in high-tech jobs is 41% or more than twice the rate men do.
In the U.S, only 25% of computing jobs are held by women, and in Silicon Valley, the home to many innovative companies and technology giants such as Apple, Meta, and Google, men earn an approximate average of 61% more than women. It is also a well-known fact that women hold far less than 50% of the jobs at every level in these tech companies.
These figures are staggering. Despite the tech industry developing at a fast pace and ranking as one of the top industries accounting for the highest number of fastest-growing companies around the globe, women remain hugely underrepresented in this field.
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Gender Bias In The Tech Sector
Gender bias is a preference or prejudice of one gender over another. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead.
The campaign theme of the recently commemorated International Women’s Day 2022 revolved around ‘breaking the bias” by envisioning a gender-equal world. A world where we actively call out gender bias, discrimination, and stereotyping on every occasion we see it.
There are many common examples of gender bias that can have an adverse impact on any industry. Here are a few examples of biases women face in the tech industry:
1. Women not being hired due to male-dominated workplaces
In situations where top leaders and managers are mostly men, it is likely that they will lean and relate more toward male candidates during job interviews and placements. As a consequence, even qualified female candidates may not be considered, limiting their opportunities.
2. Unequal pay
In most workplaces, although equally qualified and working in similar positions, women are at times paid less as compared to their male counterparts. This is quite unfair and can be demoralizing and frustrating.
3. Unfair interview questions about family and home
Questions about relationships at home, the living situation with their spouses and children, and how women plan to be committed to work while still handling being a mother and a wife are unfair as they could easily show a preference for family over work.
4. Diminished responsibility
Because of the feminine appearance of women, some responsibilities in the workplace may be passed to their male counterparts under the assumption they might not be able to handle certain tasks. Furthermore, given that most senior leaders in tech are male, men may also get the locker room advantage.
5. Lack of promotions
Again and again, women have been disregarded for promotions in the workplace. The sole reason they are not promoted is the tendency in company leadership to feel like women will spend more of their time handling family issues other than work-related assignments. There is this unconscious bias that men are more closely associated with work and women are associated with family. It is this belief that keeps women from advancing in the tech world. This is unfortunate because women are great leaders in the workplace and deserve the same kind of opportunities as men.
6. Sexist conversations that make women feel uncomfortable
Harassment at the workplace is a bad practice that is common. This habit discourages women from progressively handling issues related to their career advancement and growth.
What Does #BreakTheBias Mean For Women In Tech?
At Reactionpower, we believe that breaking the bias should be top of the agenda for tech companies all year round. Not just on International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month, Women’s Equality Day, or Mothers Day. We are a global marketing and technology company that is consistently seeking concrete measures to support and promote gender parity.
Here are 4 ways business leaders can fight gender bias:
1. Close the pay gap
Tech companies need to commit to being transparent and open with regards to harmonizing pay for different cadres such that persons in similar positions are eligible for the same pay be it a woman or a man
2. Ensure women are in tech leadership roles
Women are underrepresented in tech leadership. Women make up almost half (47%) of the US workforce, but they hold less than one-third (28%) of the leadership positions in tech. This can be enhanced by creating gender-neutral job descriptions, providing mentorship and advancement programs, and reviewing performance management processes to eliminate bias from the process.
3. Create and promote a healthy working culture for women
There are many ways to do this. For instance, champion for work-life balance, take a hard look at parental leave policies, ensure access to onsite facilities such as baby daycare and nursing rooms, even consider bringing in experts to educate your team about the roles that unconscious bias and sexism play in the workplace.
4. Support growth
The creation of professional forums where women can interact with each other, mentor and coach each other for personal and career growth, and in making sure women feel valued and are aware of the opportunities in the industry.
Will you #BreakTheBias?