In the last decades, the world has seen the onward march of progress regarding the involvement of women in the workforce. Currently, women make up almost half (46.9%) of the total workforce. Yet, the tech industry falls behind the global job market in terms of hiring women: the five tech giants (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft) hire about 34.4% women, while the percentage of employed women in all job sectors in the US has risen to 47%. Although it should not be the gender but rather the qualities of an individual that determine the choice of the career path, the current tech market conditions discourage women from assuming roles within the industry.
In 2018, women held only 25% of all the jobs in the tech industry, showing a decline in comparison to the 1980s.The gender gap has been manifested through various aspects. Not only women are less likely to study STEM subjects and are considered 22% more likely to experience "imposter syndrome" in the workplace, making them leave the jobs; another reason why women often exit the tech industry is the gender discrimination at work (reported by 50% of women), in the recruitment process (reported by 48%), and the perception of no clear career path forward for women (reported by 66%). All these aspects not only contribute to exiting the workplace but also to not even setting a foot in the tech industry.
A Glass Half Full
Some of us, however, manage to go against the trend. As a young woman attending middle school, I was fascinated by scientific subjects. By acknowledging the quality of my analytical skills, I could further pursue the career I was good at: I enrolled in a computer science degree, taking to Java, Python, and Django framework. At the university, I completed my first projects on programming languages. Most importantly, I have not stopped finessing my work and developing my passions. Nothing that could discourage me: regardless of the industry I was in, it was my hard work, determination, and predispositions that led me to the career I can today express myself in.
Thus, I believe the prospects of women in IT should not be preached doom-and-gloom that quickly. Despite the long road to reach gender equality, there is a positive trend in the tech industry. Tech giants began to pay more attention to parental leave policies, ensuring that new mothers continue their career pursuits. At the same time, the earnings of women are outpacing those of men regarding high-skill jobs.
Meanwhile, the women-only tech groups swiftly develop across the countries, functioning as significant fora for women to network, discuss the challenges and empower each other. Throughout my studies, I have become a part of organizations dedicated to women in IT. Surrounded by strong women, I have learned how to lift other leading female figures up. Empowered, I considerably developed as a person, learning the importance of long-life learning. Today, I proudly translate this power onto my career as a front-end developer in Bravelab - a company fostering open-mindedness, transparency, and inclusion - where women constitute 25% of the employees and rising.
Have we always done it this way?
Acknowledging the outdated behavioral patterns and archaic working methods, a technology pioneer, Grace Hopper, once said, “The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘We’ve always done it this way.’” Hopper has brought to our attention the importance of new ideas, particularly those of women, who have long been deprived of a voice. That is why making the tech industry more attractive to women would be a groundbreaking development within the tech sector that, after all, praises innovation. Based on my experience, I know this approach is possible to be adopted around the world.