Tech is the future. It’s dynamic. It imagines the most exciting, complicated and unimaginable. And it makes them happen. It touches and infiltrates every part of life and every person. And, it is an industry with limitless potential.
It’s also an industry:
- Where 98% of all tech companies are headed by men
- Is struggling with a 600,000 skill shortfall in the UK alone
- Globally employs less than 20% of women in technical and leadership
- Which has seen the number of women studying computer science nearly half since the mid-80’s
Whereas its vision is absolutely forward its workforce recruitment is at times somewhat backwards.
We know (the evidence is there) that when it comes to intellectual capability, men and women are equal. There is nothing a man can do that a woman can’t. If we put to one side maternity, which again we know has a solution for equality by extending paternity rights, there simply is no skill that a woman can’t learn as well as a man. Intelligence is gender neutral and it’s only because of the patriarchy, societal prejudices, and the status quo that stereotypes continue to be reinforced. The vision of the future, for the benefit of society has to be gender neutrality.
Too few women are influencing product development or business strategy in Tech and that’s bad for business. Studies show that companies with different points of view, market insights and approaches to problem solving have higher sales, more customers and larger market share than their less-diverse rivals. Why exclude 50% of the population with the potential to further influence 50% of the buying power? Excluding women in Tech is not only out-dated and harmful, it’s poor economy.
Now is the time to really realize a gender balanced Tech sector and for it to be the leading industry in equality, because of what it represents and the spirit it portrays. Which industry is better placed to be the voice of equality? Which industry has a platform to engage with the very best talent across the world regardless of gender? Which industry offers so many opportunities and potential career avenues, many of which haven’t even been invented yet? And crucially which industry is witnessing a huge (and potentially grave) shortfall in workers that could be largely resolved by becoming more women inclusive.
Much positive action is happening at grass-roots with the likes of Code Club, Digital Mums, Apps for Good, Girls In Tech, 50/50 Pledge, Rewired State, Stemettes and many many more. But the glass ceiling is far from being smashed.
Our question to industry is how can you (we) elevate the impact of these grass-roots movements to inspire more young girls and women to explore careers in tech? How can we raise their combined profile and give a bigger, more powerful voice to their action and achievements so that Government and existing male dominated leading Tech networks start to pay attention? How can we engage leading industry Tech companies to fully support, champion and spearhead gender equality in Tech because it’s both the right and necessary thing to do?
As this year's International Women's Day (IWD), 8th March rallied; #BEBOLDFORCHANGE. Tech companies should take heed and in their pioneering spirit embrace the theme for equality, as it's the bold that will prosper.