Women’s History Month and what it means for women in tech

Written by
Jami Wiegand

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To celebrate Women’s History Month, a time to remember and lift women’s contributions to the world, we will be honoring and exploring the journey of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). We will start with women’s roles in technology as early as the 1700s, touch on current statistics and highlight a few female tech CEOs today and end with a look at ideas and organizations that are helping build out the next generation of women in technology

The origin of women in technology dates back to the 1700s. Nicole-Reine Lepature was a French astronomer and mathematician who predicted the return of Hailey’s Comet. She was part of a research team whose calculations concluded the exact date the comet would arrive, although she was not initially recognized for her work. In the 1800s colleges began to open for women that included STEM-based fields of study such as computer science. Benefitting from this was Ada Lovelace, who is widely recognized as the world’s first computer programmer. As time moved on, other women across many centuries made their marks in the world of technology by taking on traditionally male jobs such as engineers and computer programmers. This opened the door for other women to do the same.

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” These words, spoken by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg almost 18 years ago, are still relevant as a call to action. Currently, women’s representation in tech companies is less than 30%. While we still have a way to go at closing the equality gap, there are many notable women who have gotten us closer and closer to doing just that. One of these women is Susan Wojcicki. She was the sixteenth employee at Google, a company once based in her garage, and since 2014 has been the CEO of YouTube. It was actually her idea to acquire YouTube! Another name of note is Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook. Sheryl was the first woman to serve on the board of directors at Facebook and reignited the conversation around women in the workplace by representing strong leadership in the tech industry.

As the tech industry continues to boom, the hope is that opportunities will continue to grow for everyone. There are many ways we can continue to help open the doors for women and build up a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workforce. Here are some strategies and some trailblazers to check out.

  • Provide access to STEM resources at an early age
    • Girls Who Code – Their mission is to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like and does.
  • Focus on diversity, inclusion, and representation in the workforce
    • She Geeks Out – Their focus centers around building communities of passionate tech and tech-adjacent women and other marginalized genders, along with assisting companies to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion. They additionally provide an opportunity for women to network, learn and connect with each other as well as companies who want to hire them.
  • Offer mentoring and professional development opportunities
    • Women in Tech – They promote girls’ and women’s empowerment around the world with an emphasis on mentorship, advocacy, and education.

There continue to be strides in the area of women in tech. We’re inspired and motivated by what we see happening around us. But we need more. More progress. More representation. More opportunities. Right now, women represent 51% of the US population. Yet, as tech commentary site Built In reports,

As the percentage of employed women across all job sectors in the US has grown to 47%, the five largest tech companies on the planet (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft) only have a workforce of about 34.4% women.

The site goes on to breakdown this gap even further:

  • 48% of women in STEM jobs report discrimination in the recruitment and hiring process.
  • Black and Hispanic women, who majored in computer science or engineering, are less likely to be hired into a tech role than their white counterparts.
  • 39% of women view gender bias as a primary reason for not being offered a promotion.
  • 66% of women report that there is no clear path forward for them in their career at their current companies.

Our goal at Insource is to create equal participation and opportunities in technology for women. We aim to hire talent based on skills, experience and attitude. This drives our commitment to offering Diversity, Equality and Inclusion training, so that we can do our part to encourage positive change in every organization we touch. To find out more about what we offer and how we can help support your diversity initiatives, contact us at insource@insourceservices.com or call us on (781) 235-1490.

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