Over the years we have seen significant progress being made concerning females participating in technology-focused career paths, but, many individuals still perceive STEM industries as being a male-dominated environment with women remaining underrepresented.
This trend exists throughout various stages of development, starting from a young age. The participation gap often begins at secondary school, where the number of male students taking A-Level Technology exams outnumbers the amount of female students. Additionally, the percentage of women working in the UK in 2018 as IT Professionals and IT Technicians were 16% and 17% respectively, with only 5% of females working in leadership positions within the sector.
Why does this happen?
Women have long been associated with certain stereotypes regarding their capabilities to succeed in the technology field, which was seen as complicated and demanding; a job that females were seen as “unfit” and “unready” to face. The current gender gap can also be partially explained by “social belongingness,” or the idea that one would fit in better working in fields comprised mostly of their own gender, where they can identify themselves and better understand each other. Additionally, people generally pursue domains in which they are skilled and confident in, and tend to avoid those in which they believe they are not. Another major reason for the gender gap is the fact that there is a shortage of female role models in the technology industry compared to male role models. This creates a barrier for women, as it is difficult to find a relatable role model from whom they can aspire to emulate.
How can we bridge the gender gap?
The technology industry is continuously advancing, and with this, the demand for workers is also increasing. However, do you need a degree in tech in order to excel in the field? According to Forbes, there is no need for one to have a computer science or technology-based degree, and there are several reasons behind this. At FDM, we have been able to witness women from different educational backgrounds excel in tech-focused career paths thanks to our industry-leading training and specialized support.
There are several ways to work towards bridging the gender gap in the tech industry, including:
- Offering a diverse range of educational classes for industry beginners
- Changing perceptions about the industry in order to create a sense of belonging
- Enhancing females’ confidence in their skills and abilities by creating opportunities – through inviting role models to talk about challenges, failures and success stories
- Encouraging mentorship programmes in order to ensure guidance
- Nurturing the community with supportive peers to continuously empower and inspire others
- Highlighting females in technology fields from a young age to further increase interest
What is the importance of this?
There are many reasons why bridging the gender gap and having a diverse workforce in the technology sector is important, such as helping to increase female interest in technology from a young age thanks to an increased presence of role models and available opportunities. Another direct benefit is enhanced workforce productivity. Having a diverse workforce and an inclusive company environment can lead to better inputs and better organisational performance—a mixed team will bring more experience and different ways of problem-solving, as well as more skills.
Here at FDM, we work hard to lead by example and do our part to close the gender gap within the tech industry. Interested in our opportunities? Find out more