Women In Technology Face Many Unique Challenges

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – “Women in the technology industry face many unique challenges that are often beyond their control,” says Dennis Kennedy, founder and chairman of the National Diversity Council. This statement could not be timelier, as The Guardian newspaper reported on 4 October that ‘from Elon Musk to Tim Cook, tech leaders hardly follow women on Twitter, and the heads of Apple, Google and Microsoft aren’t much better’. Surprisingly, Elon Musk follows zero women on Twitter, reports the publication, Motherboard.

The Guardian’s findings are definitely disappointing, especially as Silicon Valley companies frequently claim that they are committed to diversity. This is why the California Diversity Council Awards, which recognises the 2016 Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology, is so relevant and necessary. This year’s theme for the dinner and awards is ‘Women in Tech: Inventors, Innovators, and Entrepreneurs,’ honouring those women who are breaking barriers in the field of technology and setting high standards for themselves and others. The purpose of this event is to inspire young women to face obstacles with confidence and believe that their dreams of being a leader in the technology industry are possible to achieve.

Yet, while the technology industry constantly pushes frontiers, it has, unfortunately, not succeeded in removing the perceived boundaries that stop women from opting to work in technical careers. Even in some of the world’s most progressive technology companies, the gender imbalance is pronounced, as only ten percent of tech roles are filled by women.

On the upside, women are making major gains in enrollment in engineering and computer science at some of America’s most prominent colleges and universities, a breakthrough that shows gender parity is possible in technology fields long dominated by men. The efforts of schools, colleges and academia, charities and coding clubs, media and industry thought leaders, government and employers are finally making a positive impact. Data shows that more than half of engineering bachelor’s degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology went to women in 2015, while the majority of computer science majors at California’s Harvey Mudd College are women.

However, once women get into the pipeline, organisations need to make sure they stay. Research has highlighted that about half of technical women leave the industry within ten years. Therefore, better jobs are needed to encourage women to stay and rise to the highest levels in technology organisations. This is why California’s Diversity Council Awards are so important. By recognising these passionate, powerful women and placing them on a well-deserved pedestal, they will be great role models for future generations of women making their way in technology and life sciences.  

Photo Credit: 3BL Media/California's Diversity Council