How many women in tech leadership roles can you name? Why technology careers are not targeted by women?
After decades of fight, women still face a hard time when it comes to equal pay, opportunities, representation, and funding. Yet, they have been able to make great achievements!
We separate 5 inspiring women in tech careers and 5 organizations running amazing efforts to back women and girls in the industry. And a few reasons why you want to be part of a diverse team!
A two-inch step forward
When it comes to the female presence and support in the tech industry, the numbers showed a small improvement, representing only 2.7% of total VC investment in 2019.
The business magazine Fortune published a study, carried out by Pitchbook, about the real funding figures in 2019. The discrepancy is astonishing!
The all-female-founded startup that most raised funding last year was still very far from the tenth all-male. A bit more than a third of the amount raised by the latest.
In fact, the tenth female-founded companies that most raised funds are in the biotech business, but not leading the technology development projects. Most are in HR and business strategy.
Another concerning point mentioned in the study is that most of the female-founded startups receive fundings in the early stages, like series A and B.
In more advanced stages, the number has a slight decrease. The contrary happens to all-male founded, who sees investments more than double in late stages.
The fact that women are receiving much fewer investments than men is concerning for two reasons. First, if they do not get appropriate fundings in the early stage, they have fewer chances to make mistakes – which are part of any starting business.
And second, the lack of incentive for women running businesses only reinforces gender bias in the tech industry. And that’s a consequence of the male-dominated VC firms, as well.
But of course, there are many organizations and women in tech leadership roles who are supporting others and incentivize young girls to pursue their careers in tech, working as role models and mentors.
Women in tech: from pioneers to current industry leaders
It might be hard to believe, but the tech industry has not always been male-dominated and women played an important role in its very beginning.
Now, why women are still so few in tech careers? We mean computer scientists and coders, really the core skills of the tech industry. There are several reasons for that, like lower salaries, male-dominated workplaces, and the double burden of childcare and domestic labor.
Of course, none of them kept different generations of women from accomplishing amazing things since the very beginning of computer science and coding. Here’s a list to inspire and thank them for their contributions.
The Mother of Computing helped to develop the first business computer and creating the first software that translated arithmetics to language.
Karen Spärk Jones
Google would not exist the way it does, if not for her. She was a computer scientist responsible for language processing that allows computers to recognize similar words.
If you are passionate about retro video games, you should probably know about her. Considered the first video game designer and programmer, she’s responsible for River Raid and Happy Trails.
As AI is trendy today, but its development is not so recent, keeping many knowledge gaps in language learning. Abebe, founder of Black in AI, is working to avoid the racial blind spot. She’s the first black woman to complete Cornell’s Ph.D. in computer science.
From software coding intern to Google’s VP for Geo, one of the company’s main products. She is an engineer and computer scientist responsible for leading the global team for Google Maps and Google Earth.
We could go on mentioning big names of women in tech, but it’s also important to remember the collective effort of organizations that support girls and women all over the world to pursue a career and create a network.
Girls in Tech
Girls in Tech provide courses, promote events and competitions, and encourage female entrepreneurship.
Black Girls Code
Teaching young and pre-teen black girls required technical skills, in an age that kids naturally think about what they want to be when they grow up.
Their goal is to stimulate tech companies to invest in diverse teams, generating a better return and more innovation.
Female Founders Fund
F3 was created to fund women-led disruptive startups, that have often been ignored by regular VC firms. Women need allies, after all.
This non-profit organization is responsible for initiatives to increase investments to female founders. They are behind the Founders for Change effort for more diversity and inclusion in VC firms.
This list is not exhaustive and there are plenty more that should be mentioned! And the importance of this kind of list is the visibility and the memory of their accomplishments.
Having more and more women in tech and leadership roles in the industry will allow more women to build a career; get more opportunities; give young girls new perspectives for their lives.
More diversity, more innovation
This statement gets to the core of the tech industry, which evolves through innovation and creativity. If a business is made only by like-minded people, it will develop solutions with a narrow perspective of the problem.
Now, if it’s made by different people, with different backgrounds and experiences, it’s more likely the solution will help a wider public.
Having more women in tech and leadership roles will actually increase revenue. How? Because they represent other women’s needs. And they are half of the world population.
Equality is beneficial for everyone
The fight for gender equality is beneficial for individuals, society and businesses. Having a great workplace depends on the respect and well-being of your employees, and this will decrease the turnover rate.
Building a company culture that’s non-discriminatory to women and offering them the same conditions and salaries as their male counterparts are the least expected.
We hope more women join the tech industry and help to bring more innovation to the world. But it will only happen with the collective effort of society.