Published on September 26th, 2012 | by CHRIS0
The Paradox of Women in Tech: Part One
As a woman working in the tech field, I find myself reflecting on the status of women in my industry and wondering what the heck is going on. Within the last year, many journalists have passionately discussed the roles of women in tech. One prominent example is Penelope Trunk’s “Stop Telling Women To Do Startups” in Tech Crunch and Alex Tsotsis’s hot counterpoint, “Stop Telling Women Not to Do Startups.”
There are many reasons journalists are biting. Here’s one: women in technology are critical to amending the wealth imbalance between men and women. Programming jobs are high-paying but, in a classic scenario of wealth, the field is male-dominated.
Another reason people are talking? Without women in tech, Canada and the US face economic threats: a lack of innovation and the inability to fill jobs.
Even though many companies want to hire women, many companies don’t even know how to keep women. According to a study by the National Center for Women and Information Technology, women only held 25% of all IT jobs in 2008. The NCWIT reports women in tech quit their jobs twice as often as men in tech quit their jobs and more often than women in science gave up their jobs. Only 27% of women that left private tech jobs went on to work for start-ups, the government, or non-profits. The rest employed themselves or quit the industry altogether.
So, us ladies must hate tech, right? The Center for Work-Life Policy reports that 74% of women in technology love their jobs. As a lady that loves to solve puzzles, I want you to crack this paradox.
Got your answer ready?
The NCWIT study reports that women in tech jobs encounter multiple hardships: unconscious bias, a lack of sponsorship, discouragement, and alienation, among others. Technical women may love their jobs but disrespect can weigh down the pursuit of passion. Even successful women that have kept their jobs, like Ruchi Sanghvi, have publicly confessed the sheer difficulty of breaking into the boys’s club.
And I’d be lying if I suggested women do not encounter barriers before they even enter the workplace.
Tune in next week as I delve deeper into the sources of women’s barriers and experiences in technology.
Yours in tech,