According to Beyoncé, girls run the world. According to the tech industry, they definitely do not.
Let’s look at the stats:
- Women make up 26% of the professional computing workforce.
- 6% of Chief Information Officers are women.
- Women interested in majoring in Computer Science decreased 7% between 2000 and 2014.
- Only 45% of tech companies have women in leadership positions.
These statistics are important. Women are consistently underrepresented in nearly every technology company, in Silicon Valley and beyond. If women are not being represented in tech companies, their ideas are also not being represented. Ultimately, the industry is missing women’s influence on products, business styles and innovation.
Why should you care? It turns out diversified companies perform better overall. Organizations with women on their board or in high level management positions tend to have higher market shares, an improved collective company intelligence, and more confident and creative teams. The company success that women inspire can lead to new technology innovations that help move the technology industry forward.
Despite the clear positives of including more women in the tech industry, increasing their numbers has proved difficult. Managers tend to be less inclined to hire women, and one study showed that 40% are wary of hiring women of a child bearing age or who are already mothers, in case they want time off or are less focused on their work. The age old stigma that women are less capable than men has survived into the 21st century, and now is preventing women from being hired or promoted as often as men, especially in the technology field.
So where do technology companies like Aruba Networks stand with all this? Aruba’s chief officers are all male, but under HP we are led by Meg Whitman, who is classed as the 14th most powerful woman in the world. Employing women throughout a tech company is one thing, but in order to really make a change we need to start entrusting more women with upper level leadership roles.
The classic saying goes: “behind every great man is a great woman.” It’s time for women to move up front and center. Changing the stereotype that women are not as capable as men is a long and difficult process, but we can start by looking to women who have proven the stereotype wrong. With world leaders such as Angela Merkel as the Chancellor of Germany, and Janet Yellen as the head of the Federal Reserve, examples of powerful female leaders are everywhere we look. It’s time for the technology industry to step up too, and finally prove Beyoncé right.
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