Women have begun challenging the status quo by entering the otherwise male dominated industries like technology and they are an ever-growing part of the tech landscape. Bulwark Technologies subscribes to this view when Sonali Basu Roy, Marketing Manager at Bulwark Technologies says, “Women currently hold a good percentage of technology related jobs. The percentage of women in Technology careers has significantly risen since the last few years.”
The status of women in tech has improved over the years, but there is still work to be done. Studies show that women experience gender bias and discrimination Diversity is essential to ensure that all individuals have equal opportunities to succeed,” says Loubna Imenchal, Head of Video Collaboration at Logitech AMECA.
“The tech industry has made significant progress in recent years in creating a more welcoming and inclusive environment for women,” says Fida Kibbi, Vice President, Head of Marketing, Communications, Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson Middle East.
However, the percentage of women being part of the workforce in fields like IT is still very small. They hold a small fraction of tech jobs.
“We are advancing the bias awareness and gender diversity in the workplace overall. However, women are still a small fraction of the technology force. All the stats point to the fact that women make up around 28% of technology related jobs and this percentage shrinks to 15% when it goes to CEO levels,” says Joumana Karam, Head of Marketing at Acer MEA and E-Mobility Marketing Manager at Acer EMEA.
“Tech is still very male-centric, and we need everyone’s contribution to close the gap, from parents guiding their children, to all segments of society.”
Women and girls continue to face a lack of representation in leadership positions. According to the estimates, women have a small share of tech leadership jobs. Women account for just 10% of executive roles and 16% of high-level IT employment, according to the “Quantifying the Gender Gap” study by Entelo.
Reversal of gender stereotypes
Today, women are increasingly breaking down barriers and shattering stereotypes when it comes to technology employment, the tides have begun to change. . More women are also making fast career advances and making it to the C-suite. “The status of women in tech has truly evolved over the last decade, having been previously stereotyped in holding positions in either Marketing, HR, or Administration,” says Sumi Shukla, Vice President Global Partner & EMEA Marketing, at Riverbed Technology.
“Its inspiring to see many women now rising to not only leadership positions but also C-Suite and CEO positions in Technology,” adds Sumi Shukla.
“While women make up 59% of the total workforce, they are averaging only 30% of the workforce across major tech companies. That 30% includes both tech and non-tech jobs, such as Marketing and HR. When it comes to representation of women in tech jobs at tech companies, they are unable to reach the 20 percent mark,” says Simran Bagga, Vice President, Omnix Engineering and Foundation Technologies at Omnix International.
Inequality in pay, Gaps in STEM degrees and workplace culture issues are some of challenges that are in immediate need of attention in order to make women achieve greater equality in tech. “The battle certainly isn’t over yet, but we are continuing to make progress,” says Simran Bagga.
Improving gender equality in the technology
“More women have been joining the tech industry over the past decade in various roles of authority. UAE has been actively focusing on gender equality and women empowerment, and this has played a significant role in more women joining telecom, government roles, and the tech industry,” says Chantelle Tavid – Head of Marketing, NVIDIA MENAT.
Women a miniscule minority in the STEM workforce
Women continue to be underrepresented in the IT industry. Women also typically earn less than their men in science, technology, engineering and math. In recent years, organizations in tech industry are consciously hiring women talent and are focusing on building an inclusive work environment for women to improve their representation in senior roles. Companies are establishing new hiring strategies and women are increasingly encouraged to pursue careers in technology. Several companies are empowering women in tech, driving inclusion in the workplace, and closing the diversity gap.
Women’s participation in science and engineering is low and there is a big disparity between the degrees earned by men and women in STEM. “It is critical that parents understand the importance of STEM education and encourage their daughters to study and work in IT if they ever express interest in this field.” says Joumana Karam of Acer Middle East.
Anti-woman biases, reluctance or lack of confidence to apply for certain positions, are some of the reasons
In the area of technology which has historically been classified as “masculine”, in recent years growth has been exponential as companies establish new hiring strategies and women are increasingly encouraged to pursue careers.
“There are many systemic challenges that need to be addressed for women to achieve greater equality in tech, including gaps in STEM degrees, inequality in pay and workplace culture issues. The battle certainly isn’t over yet, but we are continuing to make progress.” says Sonali Basu Roy of Bulwark Technologies.
However, as we celebrate this International Women’s Day on March 28, we must say that women in the region have made significant strides in STEM and have opened new avenues for innovation despite facing numerous challenges and barriers.
With this we must also accept that there is still much work to be done to improve gender equality in STEM.
Female role models
There is a need to take personal pledges to support diversity, inclusion, and equality. “Companies should prioritize diversity and inclusion and make it an essential part of their culture. This includes recruiting and hiring practices that prioritize diversity, creating a women-friendly environment, and ensuring equal pay and opportunities for advancement. Industry leaders should serve as role models by promoting women’s achievements and advocating for their advancement, and working to eliminate gender bias and discrimination in all forms,” says Loubna Imenchal of Logitech.
Promoting women in tech
It is incumbent on us to ensure that women have the support and opportunities to reach their full potential in STEM. Only by doing so can we create a more inclusive, and innovative scientific community. There is a need to addresses the gaps in access to resources and opportunities to enable women unleash their full potential.
More needs to be done to achieve gender equality in tech sector. This year the global campaign for International Women’s Day exhorts us to embrace equality. Without enabling more women to take up careers in tech and retain them we are going to continue wasting talent. As a society we can ill afford that luxury.
The campaign theme this year is #EmbraceEquity – while the United Nations’ theme is ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’.
This year the global campaign for International Women’s Day invites us to do just that, to embrace equality. Without a gender perspective in companies that takes into account the specific difficulties of women and creates appropriate policies or programs to attract and retain them, we are going to continue wasting talent. As a society we cannot afford that luxury. We need all of you.
Diverse and inclusive teams are the driving force behind successful organisations. “I thrive in an environment where diverse perspectives are welcome and where valuable insights are brought to the table. This is essential in driving innovation and achieving business success. It is also incredibly rewarding to see the impact that our work has on people’s lives and the world around us,” says Fida Kibbi from Ericsson Middle East.
Simran Bagga of Omnix says “Women should step up, act and demonstrate accountability. There is a lot more work to be done to encourage women to be proactive, agile and lead from the front.”
Though one of the largest and fastest-growing industries, IT Industry is characterized by a low representation of women in the sector. Their representation should be increased as innovation and diversity help businesses thrive. Having a sizeable representation of women across various roles will go a long way in encouraging other women to find employment in technology.
Businesses need to take the agenda of diversity a little more strategically in the workplace. Apart from improving the work culture it will have an impact on the productivity and profitability.