There’s no hiding from the disparity between men and women in the technology field. While women make up over half of the general workforce in America, they occupy a mere 25% of the technology workforce. Although that number is continuing to grow in a positive way, there is still room for improvement.
Women in Technology: Changing the Game
“Technology is woven into everything. You can’t talk about anything these days without technology as one of the ingredients,” Cindy Bates, Vice President of Microsoft’s Small and Medium Sized Business was quoted while explaining the urgent need for women to pursue at least one technology path.
Why are there so few women in technology, when they make up half of the technology users?
We need to do a better job of exposing women to technology related jobs and showcasing career paths for them. In the past, technology jobs were represented as men working alone as organs of the computer, so many women didn’t feel there was a place for them. While this view is beginning to change, there is still a gap. Women often aren’t exposed to the options that are available in the technology fields and that stops them.
How can we change this?
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. Fortunately, there are many resources out there to help solve this issue. It’s essential to make a long-standing commitment to change this imbalance between men and women in the technology field.
We need to start to show women at a very young age that there are endless opportunities for them within technology. Encouraging and inspiring young women to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects is the first step.
Next, we need to give young women the opportunity to experience hands-on development and coding. There are a number of free coding sites, such as Codeacademy, Treehouse, and MIT OpenCourseWare where everyone has the ability to learn code at a basic or advanced level. There are also a number of coding workshops and clinics designed for the younger coder. For example,CoderDojo is a free, open-sourced environment where kids learn programming with the help of mentors from the community.
Once a woman has established themselves in the tech field, it is important to have a network of other women. These networking groups are a great way for women to come together to support one another and talk about their skills, work environments and career aspirations. At Four51, we recognize that bringing women together in technology will only help to encourage networking, collaboration and support. We’ve partnered with Girls in Tech and Women Who Code to provide a place for female technologists to come together and support one another.
Small steps make a big difference, and everyone, not just women, needs to be involved in the process.
*This article was originally created by Melissa Orenstein, HR and Talent Acquisition Director at Four51, originally posted on four51. The current version was reposted by Jorge Campos, Sr. Software Consultant at WBpro, to tailor to WBpro’s client’s needs.