The tech world is advancing fast. It seems as though we learn about some new app or piece of hardware every day. One area where the tech industry seems to be slipping up, though, is when it comes to the number of women in the industry.
In this modern age, you’d think that the numbers would be a lot higher. After all, women have clearly proved themselves in the marketplace. That you’re wrong is something of a travesty.
It seems that the tech industry is one of the last remaining boy’s clubs. There’s a general conception that men are better with tech and logic problems. Whether that’s true or not is debatable. New studies are starting to reveal that women possess the same cognitive abilities.
Unfortunately, attitudes are difficult to change. Google introduced a policy to improve gender imbalances in the company. One senior male employee took offense and created a manifesto on why Google should choose staff based on ideological principles.
According to this employee, women are under-represented in tech because of psychological differences between them and men. We won’t go into more detail, but it proved what women had said all along – sexism in the industry is rampant.
Let’s see if we can change things a little by looking at the unique benefits women bring to the table.
The Upside of Having More Women in Tech
The fact that the overall number of women in tech has increased is encouraging. It shows that attitudes are changing. For those who’re not convinced, here’s some food for thought.
Women Think Differently
Yes, we agree that women do think differently to men. Just as men of different ethnicities and ages think differently from one another. By adding more women into tech, you’re adding yet more diversity of thought.
Still not convinced? Take a look at the stats. According to Statista, in 2016, in the United States, women owned 38% of smart speakers. More interestingly, though the 51% who would consider buying these speakers were women.
Can any industry afford to ignore 51% of potential clients? The man who wrote the manifesto for Google had a valid point in one area – men and women think differently. Can a man understand the pain points that women experience? If not, how can he design an effective product for her?
Women Increase Revenue Earned
According to a working paper by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, gender equality improves profits. The researchers aimed to see if gender equality was profitable. They researched 22,000 companies across the world.
Companies that increased their female leadership from zero to a third experienced a 1% net margin increase. This, in turn, increased profitability by 15%. What’s interesting here is that the women weren’t necessarily better than their male counterparts – they operated about the same.
Researchers found that the difference was diversity. Firms with better diversity are able to attract better talent. This is something that the tech industry must learn—especially considering that women are usually paid less than their male counterparts for the same work.
Large Product Market Untapped
Another thing to consider is that the tech industry typically focuses on products that are gender-neutral or aimed at men. It’s only recently that we’ve started seeing tech focused on women. Things like ovulation trackers and apps.
With a compound annual growth rate of 17.9%, the women’s health industry is highly lucrative. It’s set to be worth $3.9 billion by 2026. Is that a market that tech companies can afford to ignore? How will the tech industry be able to create custom-designed products for women if they have so few on staff?
Whatever Way You Slice It
It’s time for the tech industry to join the twentieth century. Outdated stereotypes of men being better than women when it comes to tech must be changed. The industry will also need to engage in some serious gender-sensitivity training.
One of the top complaints by women in this industry is that they’re subjected to unwelcome sexual advances or uncomfortable sexual innuendoes. If they complain, they’re labeled as too emotive. Offenders often use the excuse, “It was only a joke,” or imply that women aren’t team players because they don’t put up with this behavior.
By starting to work with men on changing these attitudes, it’s possible to have a more equal, and satisfied workforce. Then there’s no stopping your company.