1 Reply Latest reply on Dec 1, 2015 9:21 AM by Erin Stevens

    Some data on "Women in Tech" and what you can do to take action

    Anya A'hearn

      All data from the NCWIT https://www.ncwit.org/

      (Sources quoted in attache file)

      Stats on Gender Imbalance inTech:



      • Girls take 46% of AP Calculus exams but just 19% of AP CS exams
      • Women earn 57% of undergraduate degrees but just 18% of CS degrees
      • Women earn 42% of all math and statistics degrees and 40% of all physical science degrees


      • Women comprise 57% of all U.S. professional occupations – these are defined as occupations requiring a 4-yr degree
      • But they hold only 25% of Computing jobs – and this number has been declining since 1990s when it reached a high of 37%
      • And as you see here, the numbers are even fewer for certain tech jobs – such as software developers, where only 19% of US Software developers are Women.

      Stats on Mid Career Change:

      • 56% of women leave their tech jobs by mid-career - twice the quite rate of men
      • and 75% of these stay full time in the workforce – so for the most part, they aren’t leaving to start families as is often thought to be the case

      Stats on Women in tech leadership:

      • Finally, women hold approximately 5% of technology leadership positions. 
      • Analysis of more than 20,000 venture-backed companies showed that successful startups have twice as many women in senior positions as unsuccessful companies. 
      • Tech companies led by women launch with 30-50% less capital but are at the same time more likely to survive the transition from startup to established company. 
      • It has also been found that women led companies deliver higher revenues using less capital. 

      WHY the problem persists:

      • Unconscious bias and how it thwarts innovation?
      • Unconscious Biases
      • Lack of Mentors & Professional Development
      • Supervisory Relationships
      • Performance and Talent Management Processes
      • Lack of Support for Competing Responsibilities

      Why is important to have diversity:

      • Groups with greater diversity solve complex problems better and faster than homogenous groups.
      • Let’s consider this diversity thing with a non-gender-related problem. Any left-handers here? A couple of years ago a major company released a very popular phone, and people quickly began to complain about dropped calls when the phone was held a certain way. Turns out that because of where the company positioned the antenna in this phone, this problem particularly affected left-handed people, who happened to hold the phone in the “wrong” way more often.
      • WE ALL EXPERIENCE THE WORLD IN A DIFFERENT WAY and it’s important to bring as many of those experiences as possible into the development and design of technology.(The company’s charismatic founder was ambidextrous, BTW.)

      What you can do to change this all:

      • Become a sustained vocal champion – talk about this as an innovation imperative – nothing will change unless the leader engages.
      • Ask for numbers - if your organization is like many, you may not even be measuring the number of women in technical positions (it’s most likely being done company wide) or the difference in retention rates
      • Think about accountability metrics – you can’t change what you don’t measure and reward
      • Study the appraisal forms of aspiring talent – are women in lead technical positions?  Are they on a technical career path as compared to their male peers? 
      • Technical design meetings can be brutal and uncivil affairs.  We’ve heard complaints over and over from both men and women …… but these types of design meetings are more damaging to women because they are in the minority.  Somehow its become part of the computing culture – that these types of knock down bang out meetings produce better technology.  But it’s not true – the very best idea could be in the head of a person who chooses not to engage. Meetings can be direct and efficient without being brutal and damaging.
      • Assure everybody gets recognition for the work they do and encourage them to do more
      • Actively sponsor a technical woman – this is NOT mentoring