It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the STEM industries with only 20% of tech jobs held by women. This presents a huge gender gap in the science and technology fields and it’s not only doing a disservice to women, but to the industry and humanity as a whole.
Diversity Generates Innovation
Decades of research has shown us time and time again the more diverse the team, the greater the results. If you have a room full of similar minds all trained the same way and approaching problems in the same way, then there is little innovation.
When you hire diversity you onboard different methods and strategies of thinking and those different minds challenge each other to think outside the box. Bringing together individuals of different genders, sexual orientation, backgrounds and ethnicities, and you suddenly have a more dynamic atmosphere where creative thought can flourish.
Close the Gender Pay Gap
Women all too often offered lower salaries and not just in the tech industries. A study into the UK gender pay gap by Mercer found that across all industries, men are 18% higher paid than women, but when it comes to high-tech fields, then that figure rises with men earning 25% more than their female counterparts. With more women entering the field and moving up in leadership roles, they can be instrumental in creating a more transparent environment with equal pay.
Diversity Generates More Revenue
Women not only drive innovation, but they also drive revenue. Research conducted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics which surveyed 22,000 firms worldwide, stated that companies which were more gender-diverse were more profitable. The study showed that companies with a 30% female share experienced a 15% increase in profitability in comparison to those with little or no gender diversity.
More revenue not only means more profit but in the field of technology, it also means more funding for research and development which benefits all.
To Close the Talent Shortage
In certain tech areas, there is a serious lack of qualified talent meaning that companies often struggle to hire. In fact, according to a study by Robert Walters, in the UK alone, “over 70% of technology employers are experiencing skills shortages”. Talent shortages not only hurt the companies and the industry but the economy as a whole and slows down the rate of tech development.
These tech shortages can be traced back to the lack of graduates in certain fields. A report by PWC on Women in Tech clearly showed that the gender gap in technology starts at school and in further education.
The study interviewed 2000 A-Level and university students and found that just 16% of females had been suggested a tech career compared to 33% of males while, only 30% of females had opted for a STEM subject at university, compared to 52% of the males.
Attract more women at study level and you have more graduates and more skilled workers in those areas where there is a deficit.
Tech for Women, by Women
The tech industry is one which exists largely for the needs of people, and so if women aren’t present in it from the core, then their needs are unlikely to be represented in its results. If you view this from a purely business point of view, then the tech industry is clearly missing out.
Women make up almost 50% of the world population and, in the majority of the western world, are usually the ones in control of household spending. This major section of the consumer market is largely ignored by the tech industry. Having more women leading in tech research and development can mean greater opportunities to meet the unique needs of women and tap into a huge economic force.
For Future Generations
One of the most important reasons for more women and more diversity in STEM is to provide active role models for future generations. To inspire, encourage girls and those marginalized to pursue careers in the tech industries.
There are many initiatives like Coding Girls which are dedicated to reaching out to young women and showing them that tech roles are viable and attractive career options. They also help to break down the stereotypes within a longtime male-dominated industry.
Diversity for Strength
Having more diversity adds to and strengthens the tech industries and propels innovation for the betterment of society. In order for more women to join the ranks of those in tech, we need to have greater visibility of those already making waves. Check out these quotes from inspiring leading women in tech!