International Women’s Day: Women in Technology Leadership
International Women’s Day is the annual event to celebrate the achievements, challenges and struggles of women around the world. Each year IWD is given a theme, which often relates to contemporary events, trends and struggles. This year the focus is on ‘breaking the bias’. To support this campaign, Fran Grant, Consultant in our Technology Leadership practice spoke with a number of female technology leaders about their career to date and their experience of ‘breaking the bias’.
Breaking the bias – addressing gender equality today for a brighter technology landscape tomorrow.
I’m passionate about technology, and I’m equally as passionate about women in technology and women in leadership. In this piece, I’m celebrating International Women’s Day by sharing inspiring insight from influential females in the tech space and in leadership positions.
Women in Tech: The current landscape
Technology – the industry with the largest gender imbalance. The stats are not overly optimistic, showing that 1 in 6 technology specialists in the UK are female, and only 1 in 10 are in leadership positions. More disappointingly, research shows that despite the number of women in tech rising slightly in recent years, female representation is still not where it needs to be. However, it seems some steps are being taken to address this issue and improve recognition and representation in this field – tech giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook have committed to improving the future for women in tech.
It’s interesting to understand why the proportion of females in tech remains low. Perhaps this is because there are still challenges at an educational level, with old fashioned stereotypes and preconceptions around these subjects still existing. In 2020, the number of girls studying Computer Science at GCSE level was only 16,919 compared to 61,540 boys. It’s not surprising the number of females in IT has only increased marginally from 15.7% in 2009 to (approx.) 17% as it stands today.
One thing is clear, there needs to be more encouragement and support for women who may want to venture into or progress further in technology and leadership positions.
Unlocking the challenges for women in tech
In addition to the challenges that stem back to education, there are other factors that are likely to prevent females from entering into or advancing in the tech space. From lack of equal opportunities, unequal pay (although the pay gap in tech is smaller than in other sectors), and the broken rung which refers to the disparity for women on the path to leadership.
Small improvements can be seen, with larger tech business such as Intel and Salesforce.com pledging to pay the same salary to women and men who are in equivalent roles. However, there is still a way to go.
During the course of the next few days, we will be sharing our thoughts, and the thoughts of female technology leaders on topics such as getting more women into tech, female leadership in tech and fostering Inclusion & Diversity in tech.
Fran Grant is a Consultant in our IT & Digital Leadership Practice specialising in recruiting Senior Technology and Digital professionals in Retail, Retail FS, Leisure and Hospitality, with a UK wide remit.