Over the last decade, we have seen an increase in efforts to get more women into tech. So why is it that the number of women in technology roles has actually decreased? According to research by Accenture and Girls Who Code, the percentage of women in tech roles is currently 32%, down from 35% in 1984. What’s even more alarming, is that 50% of women who take a role in technology will drop it by age 35, and women leave the technology field at a rate 45% times faster than men.
Why is there a decrease?
It might surprise you to know that it has nothing to do with the subject or skills required. The top driving factor that deters women from technology roles, is culture. Technology has long been a male dominated industry and has resulted in an environment that is not inclusive or supportive of women. If this comes as a surprise to you, it may be because 52% of Senior Human Resource Officers believe they have an environment that is “easy for women to thrive in tech,” compared to only 21% of women who agree with that statement.
What can your organization do to fix this issue?
Accenture and Girls Who Code have identified five main initiatives your organization can take to help women succeed in technology.
- Parental leave. Ensure that your organization has both maternal and paternal leave policies. In addition to having policies in place, make sure your employees feel they can actually use their full leave.
- Senior role models. Make it a goal to have women in leadership roles, and hold yourself accountable for those goals.
- Women-specific support interventions. Support women by offering things like employee resource networks and mentors.
- Creativity & Innovation. Encouraging and rewarding creativity and innovation would be appealing for many women.
- Inclusive networking. Many networking opportunities take place in the form of after work happy hours or sporting events. Provide opportunities during work hours so those with other commitments can still feel include and can connect with coworkers and leaders.
If all organizations made these initiatives a priority, it would create a more inclusive environment that allows women to thrive and succeed in technology.
Are you looking to make a difference and be the change for women in technology? MARS Returnship, a program by MARS Solutions Group, is always looking for volunteers! Our program is an on-ramp for women looking to restart their careers in technology following a gap in employment. We provide on-the-job training, mentorship, and a partnership approach to prepare our cohorts to successfully rejoin the workforce. Volunteer opportunities include mentoring, Friday Fireside Chats, professional development sessions, and mock interviews. To learn more and get involved, visit marsreturnship.com/volunteer.