Yes, We Still Need to Focus on Women in Tech

jittawit.21/Shutterstock.com

Adjusting the gender tilt in the tech workforce requires more than just filling vacancies.

Bringing up gender again—really? That may be the response one gets in the year 2019, after all, we are heading into 20 years of the 21st century. We are in the age of “The Cognitive Revolution, ” our technology grows by leaps and bounds and yet, we still see a gender tilt in our technology corridors. Why do we slide back to the middle ages when it comes to our women and minorities?

Today, while women make up 59% of the total workforce, their number is only 30% across major tech companies. This includes both tech and non-tech jobs, like marketing and human resources. As we go up the leadership chain that number dwindles even further with only five women CEOs among the top Fortune 500 companies. I have been in the corporate world for over 18 years now and have spent a lot of time working to increase the numbers of women in technology and the sciences. Working with various nonprofit organizations, ranging from the Society of Women Engineers, The Grace Hopper Foundation, IEEE Women in Engineering and various resource groups within large corporations, have made me realize that this issue requires a multi-faceted approach. As organizations appreciate the benefit of having a diverse workforce, they need to first comprehend the issue and then focus their energies on conquering the problem simultaneously in order to solve the entire puzzle. The goal should be to ensure that women and minorities are not just entering the technology workforce but are growing and fostering there as well. The three-pronged requires:

Inspiration

The first step here is to confirm our base of supply. In order to do that we need to inspire our young girls and inculcate their interest in science and technology at a very early age. A 1996 study suggested that girls begin to lose self-confidence in middle school. Our middle schools are our first battlegrounds. Technology day visits to corporate labs, science workshops, scholarships and open-ended creative competitions are some ways that we can cultivate the interest of our young girls and minorities. There needs to be direct and more real involvement of technology companies to drive STEM education across the nation.

Preservation

It is not enough to inspire our women into fields of science and technology, we need to be able to preserve the numbers through well-balanced recruiting and retention policies. A 2013 study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that men are twice as likely to be hired for a job in mathematics than women. Nearly 40% of women with engineering degrees either don't enter the field at all or quit soon after. In order to be able to preserve the numbers of women in technology, organizations need to focus on conquering unconscious bias, building strong internal women’s networks and mentoring models and create a culture where work-life balance is encouraged through active measures, not just passive messaging.

Innovation

The last piece of this puzzle is innovation and growth. When we think of technology companies, we think of cutting-edge innovations and new inventions. We need to use this genius to build imaginative and pioneering mentorship models where we not only encourage women to enter the field and stay but to grow, innovate and lead. We see the largest drop in the number of women at the middle management level, not just due to lack of flexible work options but due to a lack of growth options. As they are passed up for promotion, looked aside for raises and been told that “doing your job is not enough,” we need to actively engage them by creating executive coaching and eminence building programs for our high performing women. 

Gender parity across the fields of science and technology has been a long-standing battle. It needs to be fought at multiple fronts simultaneously to ultimately achieve our goal. As we shape the workforce of the future, let us ensure that we build organizations that inspire, preserve and grow our women and minorities.

Geetika Tandon is a senior director with Booz Allen Hamilton leading their IT modernization practice within the financial, energy and economic development sector. She is also the author of “Reinventing Myself: Inspiration, Perspiration and Innovation.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.