The UN’s theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, despite the progress that’s been made, there is still significant work to be done. Here are five facts about women in tech we should be talking about this International Woman’s Day.
- “None of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, and nor likely will many of our children,” the WEF (World Economic Foundation) found that the gender pay gap will take roughly 257 years to close, even more than the 202 years it predicted in 2018. This is even more sobering when you find out that unless more women are encouraged to enter fields such as science, technology and engineering, the gender gap could widen. In a report by the WEF, it found that the UK has slipped from 15th to 21st place, leaving it behind a few developing countries and most rich ones.
- Only 27% of female students we surveyed say they would consider a career in technology, compared to 61% of males, and only 3% say it is their first choice. Over 25% of female students say they’ve been put off a career in technology as it’s too male dominated, and only 22% of students can name a famous #womanintech in comparison to over 66% being able to name a man in the tech industry.
- A study carried out by the WEF showed that among professionals in fields such as artificial intelligence, women only make up 22 per cent of roles, creating a gender gap three times larger than other industries. “In an era when human skills are increasingly important and complementary to technology, the world cannot afford to deprive itself of women’s talent in sectors in which talent is already scarce.”
- One study found that women in the industry are more likely to be in roles termed as ‘execution’ roles, which are generally non-technical. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be assigned the more technical ‘creator’ roles. For instance, the top position for women in tech is Project Manager, whereas the top position for men in tech is Software Engineer.
- According to data from European Union’s statistics agency, Eurostat, males graduating in science, mathematics, computing, engineering, manufacturing and construction, outnumber female graduates almost two to one.
Even though you have more females going into higher education, when it comes to STEM subjects, that is not the case. While the rate of females graduating in STEM subjects has been slowly increasing, which is encouraging to see, it’s not enough. According to UCAS data, just 35% of STEM students in UK higher education are women.
With the technology and digital transformation taking place, the number of programmes has increased and so has the number of male graduates meaning that little has changed when it comes to overall representation of female STEM graduates.