An industry that is shaping our future is also a prime example of gender inequality. The lack of women working in technology is a highly discussed topic, which, while being addressed, is still short of achieving the intended goal of higher female participation in the industry.
In this overview, we look at the history of women who have played a significant role in developing technology, the stats for female participation in the technology industry and the reasons for the issues facing the industry.
Pioneering Women in Technology
Women have been at the forefront of technological innovations since the start of the information age. Not many people know that the actress Hedy Lamarr’s brilliant Spread Spectrum Technology invention is the reason why we have Wi-Fi, GPS and other wireless communication technology today.
Core has created a timeline to show the brilliant women who have contributed to technology inventions over the years, all the way from Ada Lovelace’s algorithm which paved the way for computer programming, to present-day figures like Marissa Mayer, who helped develop Google AdWords.
Women in Technology Today
A recent study by PwC UK called “Women in Tech – Time to close the gender gap” researched female participation in the UK’s technology workforce.
Some of the report findings were astounding.
× Low female interest – Only 3% of British female high school students would choose the technology sector as a career choice because of a lack of role models and lack of advice/guidance
× Low career suggestion – only 16% of females had a career in tech suggested to them, versus 33% of their fellow male students
The trend of limited participation by women in tech will continue into the future, based on the data gathered.
We have displayed some of the essential stats from the report in our infographic below.
Women at Core Technology Systems
At Core, we have a better than average percentage of female employees. Currently standing at 28%, our female staff are employed in various roles from the technical team to project management and sales.
There is an on-going effort at Core to attract more female workers. This is being achieved through removal of any gender-biased text in job ads, better maternity rights, and showcasing female role models, as well as discussing issues around women’s involvement in the technology industry.
Core has a long way to go before it bridges the gap between male and female employees, but our efforts are focused on removing the issues that exist which have resulted in lower female participation in technology.
Issues Facing Women in Technology
Catherine Ashcraft, Director of Research and Senior Research Scientist for the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) in the US, has spent the last 12 years helping to grow the role of women in technology, and documenting it.
In her work, Catherine has identified three main reasons which contribute towards lower female participation in technology:
Societal Influences and Biases
The perception of girls not being suitable for technology-based roles is still widespread. School-age girls, directly or indirectly, are told that they not good at STE subjects which impacts their aspirations.
Societal biases seep into school curricula and teaching. Computer science subjects are not made compelling and engaging for girls, limiting their interest in such subjects. In later years, due to lower participation of girls at school, the courses which are STEM-focused see a reduced female interest.
Technology workplaces continue the tradition of biases against women. They often encounter these same patterns and biases in the workplace, which restricts their upward movement and further interest in the profession.
As the issues are being clearly recognised, and the lack of female participation in tech careers is evident, there is a strong focus being placed on improving the gender inequality that exists.
As more women make innovative contributions to IT and technology, we will update this page to reflect that. Please feel free to contact Core if there is any information we should add to this page; we want to spread the word about the invaluable contributions women have made to IT.