An appalling report compiled by Carta on more than 6,000 companies; 15,000 founders and 180,000 employees of the Silicon Valley showed that men comprised 91 percent of employees and founders in the Silicon Valley. The percentage of businesses and start-ups owned by women in silicon valley is only 9%.
An average female founder owns just 39 cents for every $1 a male founder owns in Silicon Valley.
According to data compiled by the National Center for Women and Information Technology, women constitute only 47% of all the employed adults in the tech field in the United States. In 2015, only 25% of women held computing roles, with Asian women making up just 5% of this percentage and Black and Hispanic women accounting for merely 3% and 1%. Women of color suffer immensely when it comes to gender disparity in the tech field. 48% of women in STEM jobs describe facing some kind of unfairness in the hiring or recruitment process.
During COVID-19, there has been an increase in the demand for tech jobs as compared to other professions in the job market. Despite the growth of STEM jobs in the past few years, women are not given as many equal opportunities as their male counterparts in the technology industry.
Gender pay gap in the tech field
The technology industry still has a long way to go before it eliminates gender disparity and attains workplace equality. The U.S.’s tech market is growing rapidly, benefiting the overall economy, and providing thousands of individuals with stable jobs; however, the tech industry is still deemed to be a male-dominated industry. In 2018, women held only 25% of jobs in the tech industry which is lower than the percentage of women from the 1980s.
It has become unyielding for women to enter the tech-industry workforce due to discrimination, stereotypes, and the gender pay gap.
Despite the ever-growing tech market and jobs in the tech field, some of the major corporations such as Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft have very few women in their workforces.
Women are not given equal opportunities in the tech field despite possessing the same skills as their male counterparts. Even if they are, there is a large pay gap. A recent Mercer survey conducted on 66,000 employees across 152 companies in the UK shows an extensive wage gap faced by women in high-tech companies. The findings reveal that men earned 25% more than their female counterparts. The women and men who were studied in this survey performed equally well on their respective job duties and showed the same work ethic. However, the male workers of the respective companies were more likely to reach a management level, and they are also 20% more likely to receive bonuses.
Around 78% of major corporations admitted to having a gender pay gap issue in the sector of technology. Among those major corporations, only 14% of businesses had a median pay gap. Only the other 8% declared no gender pay gap. Reports show that a company with a diverse workforce performs better. Still, there is a shocking amount of gender disparity in tech corporations globally. Although there is still a long way to go before gender inequality is eliminated entirely from the tech industry, there have still been certain positive achievements that show a little hope for a brighter future for the tech industry in terms of gender disparity. There have been certain positive trends revolving around women in the tech industry.
Certain all-women tech groups, like the FBomb Breakfast Group, are working nationally to provide a space and a platform for women in tech to network, meet and discuss the triumphs and challenges of their experiences working in the tech field. Also, women of such tech groups work towards providing fruitful tips to each other which they can use to succeed in their tech careers or their tech-job search.
The industry has also seen a 24% increase in representation in the C-Suite for women in the past five years.
Female role models of the tech industry
The shortage of female role models in the tech industry has created a perception that perhaps a tech-related career is not suitable for women. Tremendous women in history have substantially contributed to molding and positively impacting the evolution of technology. However, it is quite unfortunate that their accomplishments go unnoticed or unrecognized and are not as widely spoken about as the success stories of their male counterparts. We have compiled a list of five women from history who have significantly contributed towards shaping the history of the technology industry.
1. Radia Perlman – the Mother of the Internet
Radia Perlman’s work greatly influenced the way networks self-organize and move data. Her innovations enable our present link’s state routing protocols to be easily manageable and strong. Dr. Perlman created the vital parts of the underlying foundation for the internet, the algorithm behind the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP).
Despite having contributed substantially towards the creation of the internet, Dr. Perlman says that the “internet was not invented by any individual.” Radia Perlman was among only a few women involved in the process of internet production. Her invention of the algorithm helped solve the challenging information routing problem.
That is how she earned the name “Mother of the Internet.” In an interview with the Atlantic, Radia Perlman said, “What I did right was pretty much due to a bunch of accidents. I just happened to get exactly the right job at the right time in the right place, so it was my job to design routing protocols at a time when the field was in its infancy. It was because of the way I approach problems, thinking it through conceptually rather than diving right in and solving each special case, that the designs wound up being so successful.”
2. Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson – mathematician and stargazer
Katherine Johnson has made many crucial contributions to United States’ space and aeronautics programs. Her most significant contribution to space exploration was the mathematical calculations she had done that assisted in synching the Lunar Lander of Project Apollo with the Service Module and the moon-orbiting command.
In 2015, Katherine Coleman was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is America’s highest civilian honor.
3. Ada Lovelace – the first programmer and the poet of science
Ada Lovelace was an English writer and mathematician. She is famous for her works on the proposed mechanical general-purpose computer of Charles Babbage, the Analytical Engine that served as a predecessor for the modern computer.
Ada Lovelace did not attain much recognition during her time as a mathematician and a writer. However, at present, she is known as the prophet and pioneer of the computer age. Due to her notes on the specialized engines, Ada Lovelace is now recognized as the first programmer of computers.
On the second Tuesday of every October, Ada Lovelace Day is observed every year to honor, commemorate, and celebrate the achievements of women in the STEM field.
The sole purpose of this day is to inspire the young generation of women to pursue a career in the tech field and create new role female models for the coming generation so that the young girls of tomorrow can pursue their tech careers without the fear of not being taken seriously or being discriminated against.
4. Hedy Lamarr – the inventor of WiFi
Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-American inventor and actress who substantially contributed to form the basis for today’s GPS, WiFi, and the communication systems of Bluetooth. As seen working in Delilah and White Cargo and Samson, Lamarr’s geniuses have long been ignored by society.
In 1942, Hedy Lamarr was awarded a patent for producing a system of secret communication, with the assistance of her husband George Antheil. This density hopping function was created to set the radio-guided missiles in the wrong direction during the war. However, Lamarr’s great idea later inspired the creation of the GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth technology that is commonly used at present.
5. Annie Easley: the NASA rocket scientist
Annie Easley was a rocket scientist for NASA and a source of inspiration in the STEM field for women of color globally. When Easley was hired at the NASA lab, she was the only person of color. In the 34 years that Annie Easly worked for NASA as a computer scientist, she substantially contributed to numerous programs.
She inspired many women of color through her programs of outreach and also shattered the stereotypes attached to her as a person of color by becoming a counselor of equal employment opportunity. While working for NASA, Easley created the Centaur rocket project which proved to be very significant for the space shuttle launches of today.
Why don’t more young girls pursue careers in tech?
Some of the reasons why many girls do not pursue STEM degrees are lack of role models, fear of competing in a male-dominated industry, low self-esteem, and discouragement from peers, tutors, or parents alike. Technology is one of the most unconventional and intriguing industries to work in. Yet, some women feel discouraged to follow their tech dreams in fear of not attaining a stable job or a successful career.
Why should more girls pursue a career in tech?
Demand for an increase in tech careers is expected to exponentially increase in the upcoming years. Revolutionizing industries such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, IT, analytics, 3D printing, computer security, computing, big data, industrial technology, and blockchain technology are making their way into our everyday lives.
From 2019 till 2029, occupations and employment in the IT industry are projected to increase by 11 percent.
This rate is much faster than the average rate for all other occupations. Tutors, parents, peers, and colleagues must encourage and motivate the women in their lives to pursue tech-related degrees and careers in STEM. If a female you know is interested in pursuing a career in tech, why not encourage her to follow her dreams with sheer effort and dignity instead of telling her to settle for something that is less manly and more girly?
The more women we have in the tech field, the more we will be able to accomplish the goal of diminishing gender inequality and the gender wage gap in the tech field. High school science teachers and tutors should incorporate special lessons in their classes where they teach about women in history who have positively impacted the tech industry. If we teach young girls from a young age that their dreams are valid, they will be able to thrive in society as confident citizens of a healthy community.