Why are there so few women in tech? As someone who’s worked in tech for twenty years it’s always been a mystery.
Most men I’ve spoken to don’t think this is much of an issue.After I posted this very question in an anonymous forum the responses received were worse than anything I expected. Responses like “all women care about is taking selfies” and “As long as Facebook is working they’re happy”.
Refusing to believe that other men could be so ignorant I posed the question again during a recent networking event to a few attendees. One guy said “Why should tech companies care about the male to female ratio?” Add this plus the fact that a career in technology is hardly discussed or encouraged when parents consider career choices for their daughters.
The obvious would be to argue that equality offers many benefits to society. But, when it comes to the tech sector we need to look beyond the question of equality. I did my research and the results are shocking. Let’s talk about how the tech industry suffers due to a lack of female influencers.
Many studies show that women approach a problem differently than men. I can tell you from my personal experience that I’ve looked many times at a situation and come to a conclusion. After asking a female friend to give her feedback it’s happened more than once that I found myself saying: Um, that’s brilliant – how did you even see that? My friends cool response was, “That’s just how I think”.
When people who look at a problem offer diverse approaches, the solution options become more diverse as a result. Besides, the solutions offered will now actually work and be understood by the very consumers businesses are serving. If 85% of people who create technology solutions are men, how well do you think those solutions will serve the female population? Let’s not forget that the majority of consumers – and the ones who manage family budgets- are mostly women.
Putting the W in Team Work
It’s been shown that in group settings women tend to increase the overall group IQ (Study: http://bit.ly/1fzWczY). In addition, numerous studies show that women are more skilled in communication. Let me state the obvious here: when teams communicate better they’re happier and when team-members are happier they tend to be more productive. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine happier teams also create environments prone to greater creativity.
That’s what we are missing in the tech-industry! We are missing out on teams that communicate better, are more productive, and solve problems more creatively – thus increasing the overall profitability of companies. That means that any tech company that lacks diversity won’t be able to compete with their highly diversified counterparts.
The New Nerd
I think it’s time for the old, outdated picture of “nerdism” to change. It no longer should be confined to the socially awkward geek who stares at a computer all day. Women in tech add excitement and challenge us to adjust the image of a nerd as someone who could be on the cover of Vogue magazine (like Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer.) Or an actor such as Cooper Harris who is running a technology company. It’s even becoming trendy to be nerdy as demonstrated through the first hackathon held at a film festival – in Sundance this year.
Any company that wants to remain competitive and innovative must find ways to introduce more women into their teams. The tech world needs more diversity amongst nerds.
About: Tony opened his first web development company at age 22. Since then he’s served as a top technical support specialist for Symantec; spent several years as a technical consultant; and ran a sales-team of fourteen highly successful sales reps. Now his mission is to bring equality to the tech industry through www.igirltechnews.com.
Full Bio: http://www.webpreneur-nerd.com/about/
“Tech is for You too!”