Women today can study for any profession they please, and go for high flying tech jobs if they want to – or can they? Are women really playing a bigger role in the tech industry and enjoying the opportunities it offers?
According to the Catalyst Research Center for Equity in Business Leadership, even when women have superb tech qualifications and experience, they often decline to go for tech jobs because the industry makes them feel like outsiders. The industry is fundamentally failing to provide the flexibility women need to balance family and work, making female industry members feel that tech jobs are simply not for them. Having a family and working is more of an either / or decision, as opposed to two things that can be combined.
When the Catalyst Research Centre interviewed almost 6,000 MBA graduates working in a variety of companies, the found that only 18 percent of the women opted for a tech-related job after completing their MBA, compared with 24 percent of men.
Over half of the women who had started careers in tech moved to another industry at some point, and the reasons quoted included family reasons. The tech industry suffers from some of the old fashioned constraints that other industries have shaken off over the years. It doesn’t provide enough flexibility or enough new opportunities for women. A shortfall in the number of women finding success within tech jobs causes the industry to lack female role models who have been successful from the inside, and often means women need to start out at a lower level.
Sounds like it’s time to re-think tech in a number of ways. How can we make these jobs more accessible to women? How can we infuse some female influence into a male dominated industry? We’ve got the skills, and the brains, all we need is the opportunity, and the benefits of helping women further themselves in tech jobs will benefit everyone.