Although globalization and technology have disrupted the way we live, work and play, it seems quite ironic considering the current scenario of the gender disparity seen in large organizations. Even today, the ratio of women within engineering, computer science and technology domains is dropping tremendously. The infamous Google engineer, James Damore, who was sacked for making bold statements about the distribution of women employees in tech and leadership due to them having a “stronger interest in people” and “neuroticism” might make them less suited for tech roles and leadership stirred an uproar among the masses. The statement may have got him fired, but it gives us food for thought. The actual fact is that there are only 20% of female engineers at Google.
Does it mean that Damore is making sense?
Possibly, not his statement or opinion, but he makes us question our approaches to diversity and inclusion planning, because statistics prove the phenomenal difference between men and women being hired for tech roles and leadership. Since the gender bias has been prevalent for years, are we taking any measures to evolve from such a primitive thought process? What are the real reasons for such an exorbitant drop rate for women in tech?
The Industry Gender Gap report proves how harmful and underrepresented women are in the technology domain. The rate at which technology is evolving and the ratio of women entering these career avenues, makes it impossible to keep pace with, women stand at risk of losing out on these job opportunities along with the social and economic influence of women declining.
The common perceptions as to why there is such a low ratio of women in these jobs are marriage, added responsibilities, middle aged women, pregnancy, career breaks etc. As rightfully said, these are only common perceptions, but not the complete reality. The current era is witnessing successful, powerful and ambitious women who are the breaking these perceptions and influencing women around the world.
What we discovered
Hexagon conducted an insightful case study for one of its clients to measure and identify challenges in the technology space in India, which highlights the disparity between men and women in hiring for technology in India.
It was observed that more female employees were leaving the company as they desired better work, high ranking jobs being offered by competitors in the market, good work-life balance and lack of consideration for higher roles within the current company. To address such a major problem, the company created a sponsorship program that paired women along with C-level members. This program witnessed one third of the participants moved to larger roles within a year.
Many such companies are taking initiatives and providing women a platform to be considered for higher roles, however, the supply side of the equation, drops dramatically at every level of organizational hierarchy.
In order to bridge that gap, the mindset about tech being a “macho thing” needs to be discarded. Top engineering institutions, universities and colleges have enhanced their curriculums encouraging women to study computer science and other STEM-related subjects. Although initiatives like these are being planned and implemented, the seed should be planted at an early stage encouraging girls to pursue and build interests in these fields.
With international companies and several innovation and development centers evolving in India, the demand for a tech workforce is due to increase by 30% until 2020. The majority of jobs and skills in demand revolve around tech positions. Keeping mind the millennial generation and the changing landscape of a workplace in India, good work-life balance, company culture, challenging tasks, opportunities, recognition, etc were some of the most important factors among candidates looking for a job. Take a look at the statistics below.
Words of Wisdom: Take it from these Super Women
“When you enter tech, you realize that there are more men than women. You can’t deny that. But, I don’t think you can make that an obstacle. You can’t get deterred as a female founder knowing that’s the landscape. You need to ignore the naysayers (of course there will be naysayers) and surround yourself with investors who believe in you, believe in your idea, believe in the market you’re going after, and believe in your ability to execute, most importantly.”
“Women no longer have an ‘if I can’ mindset. Now it’s more about ‘how I can’—be in tech, start something in tech, fund something in tech. That shift is exciting! And it happened because we created a network where we show, daily, that women are innovating.”
“It’s so easy for us to get caught up in negative patterns, versus seeing what positive change you can make. Especially for women and minorities, we need to learn to see challenges as stepping stones instead of hurdles. They really can bring you experience and closer to your goals.”
“Recognize and embrace your uniqueness. I don’t think the ratios are going to change anytime soon. But, I don’t think it has to be a disadvantage. Being a Black woman, being a woman in general, on a team of all men, means that you are going to have a unique voice. It’s important to embrace that.”
“I also say to my team: Do 10% of your job shittily. It’s okay to do something shittily. Perfectionism prevents us from taking double steps in our career. We think we have to be perfect, but we don’t.”
“I think the best piece of advice I can give to anyone with a dream is to never be afraid to share your dreams and talk about what you wish to create and see in the world. It’s often hard to share those pipedreams at the risk that they might not work out, but you never know who has the collaborations, networks, and visions to make your dreams a reality. So be careful and vigilant and protect yourself intelligently of course, but never be afraid to ask for help.”