Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Jack Ma, just to name a few, are some of the prominent names in technology today. We are continuously intrigued and captivated by the thought process that led to some of the greatest inventions of today. These inventions include Facebook, Amazon and more. However, on doing a quick google search of prominent names in technology one thing stands out, they are mostly of the male gender. When asked to name one woman who contributed to tech many of us cannot name one . Why is this the case? Is it that there are no women in tech or are their achievements inferior to those of their male counterparts’?
Gender Equality in Tech
We are pushing for gender equality in everything from sports and politics, but we seemed to have forgotten tech.
Trust Radius published a report for International Women’s Day, which showed some very eye opening data on women in tech. According to the report, more women experience feeling out of place or under-qualified compared to coworkers. Women are 22% more likely to experience imposter syndrome as compared to men.
Some of the reasons women felt this way included:
- a gap in venture capital funding for women startups,
- lack of diversity in the company, gender pay gap,
- limited opportunity for growth in the company
- toxic masculine work culture.
These issues do not only begin once one enters the workforce, they are also a cultural and upbringing issue. In education, girls are often encouraged to pursue non-scientific and non-tech education and boys are pushed to excel in math and science. For example, boys get gifts like computers and video games that encourage them to explore and learn. Girls, on on the other hand, get dolls and other gifts that limit them. These are just some of the upbringing issues that inspire a sense of inferiority among girls when it comes to technology related matters.
More Women Involved in Tech
Despite the grim numbers recorded throughout history there seems to be hope for the future, recent statistics have show an increase in enrollment of girls in coding and computer science courses. Countries such as India, Malaysia and Nigeria are some of the countries defying the odds, reporting an increase in enrollment of girls in courses like software engineering, coding, programing and computer science. Kenya also gotten involved in this movement. They have numerous STEM programs for students at all levels of education. The governments initiate these programs to ensure they are non- discriminatory.
Its really not a debate of men vs women. It is just a proposition on the provision of equal opportunities in the tech field.
The next time you engage in conversation about technology and technological advances remember all of the great women inventors. This list includes:
- Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer
- Heddy Lamar who helped invent the technology that is responsible for creation of Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth
- Annie Easley, who developed and implemented code used in researching energy-conversion systems, and analyzing alternative power technology—including the battery technology that was used for early hybrid.
This will be a first step in acknowledging women’s importance in technology.
If we forget these innovators and inventors of the past, how do we expect to inspire future generations of girls and women to enter the tech field?
Get more girls and women in tech here