As a fellow women in technology, it’s no surprise to me that we are lacking representation in the technology industry. At previous jobs, I would look around the room and be the only female in attendance. Women today only occupy 25% of the current STEM jobs available.
So why is it so important to have more women in technology?
They provide role models
Having women in positions of leadership provides role models for the future generation of developers. Giving younger women the confidence they need to pursue a field in the tech industry by showing them that it can be done. And by breaking down barriers for them so that they don’t have to.
Which is why it’s so exciting that women CEO’s are on the rise. As of June 1st, 33 CEO’s on Forbes Fortune 500 list were women. Going from 4.8% in 2018 to 6.6% in 2019. That’s a huge bump in the right direction of adding leadership diversity.
Some of the notable women on this list include:
- Ginni Rometty, IBM
- Safra Catz, Oracle
- Susan Wojcicki, Youtube
- Anne Wojcicki, Cofounder and CEO of 23andMe
And other women in high-ranking leadership roles::
- Sherly Sanberg, COO of Facebook
- Angela Ahrendts, Senior VP at Apple
- Amy Hood, CFO of Microsoft
Our own leadership team at Excel SoftSources includes Alexandra Araya – Director of Operations.
Why is diversity so important? Being able to bring additional perspectives as a woman result in more innovative solutions as well as better performing companies. The study Why Diversity Matters by McKinsey found that diverse companies perform better and that the most gender-diverse companies perform on average of 15% better.
Although the tech industry is working to make strides to encourage more female developers, Silicon Valley is still struggling to diversify. Google’s tech team is 81 percent male, Apple’s tech team is 77 percent male, Facebook’s tech team is 83 percent male, and Twitter’s tech team is 87 percent male. That means we are losing out on potential innovation by not hiring more women. Excel SoftSources prides itself on encouraging diversity within its staff.
In addition, it’s been proven that gender diverse teams make better business decisions, bringing significantly more scope and awareness to opportunities and vulnerabilities. They’re also more efficient, making decisions twice as fast with half the meetings. Who wouldn’t like less meetings?
Good for the Bottom line
Having women in corporate leadership roles leads to increased revenue. Studies have found that having 30 percent female leadership can increase profits by 15%. Additionally, an analysis done by Credit Suisse determined that companies with women on their board had a 4% better return on investment compared to those with zero women. Even Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary prefers women founders, stating “They make me more money.”
Why are we not supporting more women start up companies? Only 17% of startup founders are women. According to Fortune, this accounts for only 2.2% of the total money invested in startups. Yet, women-founded companies generate an astounding 150% more revenue per dollars invested than their male counterparts.
People are less likely to start a company in an industry that they have no experience in. As technology increases to additional industries such as baby safety, wedding planning and grocery shopping, we will benefit from additional perspectives and experiences of women to enhance product development.
Here are some women who are setting the stage for future women entrepreneurs in technology:
- Aileen Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures
- Theresia Gouw, Founder of Aspect Ventures
- Anne Wokcicki, Co-founder of 23 and me
- Kirsten Green, Founder of Forerunner Ventures
We are making great steps as a society to change the perception of female careers. The education industry is taking great strides in encouraging girls to pursue STEM careers by adding additional classes, after school programs and clubs catered specifically to girls. Stores are changing the way they stock STEM toys and are no longer marketing primarily to boys. I, myself, encourage my daughter by purchasing toys that in previous generations would have been considered boy’s toys. I love the trend of providing blocks, Microscopes, Lego’s and more in colors more encouraging for both boys and girls. Little girls fashion is also taking a turn in no longer focusing on princesses, hearts and kittens and you can now find astronauts, scientists and athletes on girls clothing.
My hope is that we continue to see more women joining the tech industry as well as staying in them. We have come a long way in changing the tech industry to better support women…. But still have a ways to go.