How Can Women Change Their Role In The Tech World? Part 1

There are a range of female-led initiatives helping to close the gender gap in tech.
Although women in tech have become more commonplace recently, the IT industry still has one of the lowest gender diversities in the workplace: only 25% of employees are female compared with an average of 57% in other industries. At the executive level, only 20% of CIOs at Fortune 250 companies are women. In fact, since 2004, the number of women in high positions in the tech industry has remained relatively static at 13%.
Why are these numbers still so low? And what can women do to change that?
Women don’t choose this education path
Melissa Woo, CIO of the University of Oregon, believes the root cause of the low number of women in the tech industry lies in our education. The number of women studying computer science degrees was around 14% in 2010 out of all of the female undergraduates; The Atlantic reported that only 0.4% of female graduates would major in computer science. Woo suggested that women need to see other women succeeding in their field to be able to consider them role models; she believes young women can be inspired through mentoring, outreach, tours, career days, that kind of thing”.
Evidence of “Imposter Syndrome”
The new dean at the Grace Hopper Academy, a school exclusively for women coders, claims that the reason why there are so few women working in the tech industry is due to the imposter syndrome. As tech is still very much viewed as a “man’s world”, women find themselves feeling like imposters in this environment. They are made to feel like outsiders.
A lack of support
Marcy Klevorn, the CIO at Ford, says large tech businesses must support organizations that work to get more women into the industry. Klevorn worked her way to the top during 32 years at Ford Motor. She started working in telecommunications and rose through the ranks via business applications, credit and IT infrastructure organization. Klevorn is a member of the Michigan council of Women in Technology, and actively raises money for robotics programs and web design contests, all of which she hopes will be conducive to a change in support mechanisms for women in tech. Klevorn also supports the Girls Who Code program. A funny anecdote Klevorn shares:
One day, I was sitting there with some people from my team, all of which were male, and a supplier walked in and he looked at everybody but me. He looked at me and was so surprised to find out [I was the leader]. He said to me, usually someone in your job is an ex-Marine.
I said, how do you know Im not?’”
How are we tackling the gender gap globally?
It is not just successful women who are helping to empower women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), there are many organizations and institutions which are dedicated to boosting the women in tech numbers. The White House has promised to tackle the gender gap within technical and scientific fields as well as encourage other underrepresented groups to pursue STEM careers.Programs such as 1000 Girls 1000 Futures, The Scientista Foundation and Million Women Mentors are such examples of encouraging women to enter these fields.
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