by Nicole Morley
The world is rapidly changing as a result of exciting new developments and innovations in technology. We’re collecting a wealth of new data everyday, developing software that mimics human intelligence, and making transactions easier and safer with blockchain. This exhilarating era of innovation has created a lot of opportunity within the technology and STEM fields. Yet, we see so very few of these roles filled by females, though they have historically played key roles in moving the industry forward. As we look back on the past and examine the present, we can’t help but wonder what could be done to solve this lack of female representation in a field that would benefit greatly from their talent.
Women Who Paved the Way in Tech and STEM
Many incredible women have had a hand in shaping the tech industry into what it is today. Ada Lovelace was not just a trailblazer for females, but led the way for the emerging world of computing. Widely regarded as the first computer programmer, Ada’s expertise in maths and remarkable observations led to the creation of “The Analytical Engine” in the 1840s. Her notes inspired the work on the first modern computer a century later, an invention made possible with the assistance of mathematician and code-breaker Joan Clarke.
Across the Atlantic in the 1950s, Mathematician, Computer Scientist and Navy Admiral Grace Hopper was instrumental in developing one of the first commercial computers available in the US, created the world’s first ever compiler, and wrote several compiler-based programming languages. One of these—called COBOL—is still in use today, with 43% of banks built on the code which also underpins 80% of all ATM transactions in the US.
We’ve Come a Long Way, but There Is Much Work to Be Done
Today, we have more women than ever in the industry. Many of them hold powerful roles and sit on the boards of some of tech’s biggest firms. Susan Wojcicki serves as the CEO at YouTube and champions diversity in the industry. Ginni Rometty has served as chairman, president, and CEO of IBM since 2012, and has been instrumental in the company’s AI and data responsibility initiatives. Aileen Lee, Theresia Gouw, and Kirsten Green—all founders of their own tech businesses—have banded together to form All Raise, a venture designed to increase the number of women in venture capitalism and increase the number of female founders. We’re seeing women rise in the ranks of power and use their positions to support others in the field.
In the past two years, we’ve witnessed the introduction of legislation and initiatives that promote and support the hiring, development, and retention of female employees in the industry. These include the Tech Talent Charter and PwC UK’s “Tech She Can Charter,” which over 50 companies have committed to.
But even with these various successes, the industry as a whole still has a long way to go in terms of diversity, inclusion, and equality. Tech is still very much viewed as a “Man’s World”. Only 17% of UK tech workers are female. PwC Women in Tech found that 27% of females would consider a career in tech compared to 62% of males, and only 16% of females had tech suggested to them as a career whereas the percentage of males was doubled. Tech was the first choice career of only 3% of women surveyed. Women are both underrepresented and underpaid, typically earning thousands less than their male colleagues.
Advento Star Women Aims to Make a Difference
Unfortunately, these disheartening statistics reflected what we were seeing in our recruitment practice. After feeling as though we were only speaking to male candidates, we decided to analyse our own databases. What we found was also disheartening, as women made up only a 15% proportion. To combat this, we created Advento Star Women to proactively reach out to women and promote the recruitment of females in Data, Change, Cyber and Digital Technology. Our purpose is to attract, support and advise women to the industry and ultimately help make a difference to the global gender gap.
We recently released an online survey to gain a better understanding of women in STEM and tech. The questions are straightforward and ask women to reflect on their experience as a female in this male-driven field, and share their thoughts about the future of the industry. The data we collect will help us better serve our Star Women, and help us better advise our clients on ways to properly attract, support, and retain their female employees.
If you’d like to share your insights with us, you can participate in our survey by clicking here. We’d love to hear from you! To learn more about Advento Star Women, please visit our website.