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How do we get More Women in Tech?

More women in tech is something that we desperately need. The current skills gap is holding back innovation and the global economy. Businesses across the UK, Europe and America are struggling to hire people with the tech skills they need. The tech skills gap needs to be solved. On the face of it, the simplest solution would be to get more women in tech.

We are turning to tech to solve some of the most complex problems humanity has ever faced: global heating, carbon capture, electric cars, cancer detection, complex surgeries. All of these problems are seeing huge leaps forwards because of technology. When we understand the vital importance of technology in resolving these critical causes of human suffering, then we start to understand why it is so important to close the tech skills gap. Technology, used correctly, changes lives. For some examples about how AI is improving lives, see our posts

Diversity also has value in and of itself: more diverse businesses have been shown time and time again to be more successful and profitable. Diverse businesses can access a wider range of viewpoints which mean they have a more accurate view of the world and their customers. This results in a better and more successful product development. 

5% of tech leadership roles are women need more women in tech

What do we need to do to get more women in tech?

50% of the population are women, yet PWC found in 2017 that only 5% of tech leadership roles are held by women. We need 50% of the tech workforce, at every level, to be women. We need more women in tech, and we need it to happen fast. The best approach is a multi-stranded solution, tackling as many of the potential causes as possible simultaneously. 

The importance of role models to get more women in tech

We know that women who are exposed to female tech role models are almost twice as likely to enter a tech career. A study by Microsoft found that 52% of women who had female role models in tech were interested in technology, compared to just 32% who did not. Getting more female role models in tech is essential.

But this data may represent an oversimplification. If you start to research women in tech, there are a whole host of super successful, highly inspirational women in tech already. See our article on influential women in tech here. Female tech role models exist, but it seems we have to search harder to find them. We all know who runs Uber, Deliveroo, Tesla and Amazon, but less people know who runs Starling Bank or Bumble. It is important to think about why this is.

Either women are doing less self-promotion or the media are less inclined to idolise a female tech founder. Rather than agonise over what the exact cause is, we need a two pronged approach: we need female tech leaders to step into the limelight and make conscious choices to highlight their stories and their success; and we need the media to highlight these tech women in the same way they do with male tech leaders.

Improving education 

Our education is letting us down. It hasn’t kept up pace with technological innovation and that needs to change. The core subjects need to be updated. At a very minimum all students should be taught software engineering/coding, as a compulsory subject, and cutting edge syllabus updates should be imposed each year. Students should be taught innovation as a skill: how to think outside the box, how to stay up to date with the latest technological advances, and how to embrace the novel. This will give our young people the right mindset for innovation and will benefit all of us.

Beyond this, we need to actively encourage more girls and young women into tech subjects. We should offer bursaries or grants to women taking tech subjects at university. Bursaries could also be used to encourage women to teach tech subjects, so girls have female role models in the classroom. Until we have more women coming through technological educational routes, we will always struggle to close the tech-gender gap. 

Improving tech accessibility

Beyond that we need to make technology careers easier for people to enter. Not everyone needs a degree: self taught software engineers can be as good as their university educated counterparts, or better. It is the commitment someone has to their craft that makes the difference, not how many tens of thousands of pounds they have invested in a degree. Apprenticeships offer an excellent route into some tech careers, and it is great to see them being encouraged in the UK. Read our blog article about closing the skills gap through apprenticeships and workplace training.

More women in tech through workplace changes

Workplace culture needs to undergo a change. Women in tech often complain of a laddish, inappropriate culture that makes them feel uncomfortable. There are anecdotal stories of women being treated horrendously in the work place and it being seen as acceptable, even playful or joking behaviour. To stop accepting these cultures as normal it is important that we teach our employees to be more emotionally intelligent and empathetic, whilst also reprimanding inappropriate behaviour. This is a challenge that has been largely overcome in many other industries, but it will only truly change as workplaces become more balanced. Read more about creating company culture in our recent post.

Potentially even more importantly, we need good quality tech roles that encourage people to work remotely and flexibly as standard. Women are far more often caregivers than men. We need to create working circumstances that accommodate women who need to care for children or other relatives. This is a shift that will not only benefit women, but everyone in the workplace. A more flexible work culture will allow men to take on caring responsibilities which, in turn, will mean the burden will fall less heavily on to women.

Society needs to change too

To ensure meaningful, lasting change, society will need to adapt and update. The media must step up and publicise female tech leaders in the same way they do their male equivalents. The cinema industry should show women in tech leadership roles as often as they show men in them. We need to smash the stereotype of a male 'techie' and to do that we need to see women in tech (as well as a wider range of men).

It is currently very ‘on trend’ to talk about gender equality. But simply asking for gender balanced candidate lists for roles isn’t enough. Right now, it is almost impossible to get a gender balanced candidate list in a tech role. We have to go beyond this and start actively solving the problem. If we don’t, the economy will suffer and that means everyone, of every gender, will suffer. Businesses need to take the lead and come up with innovative initiatives to encourage more women into tech. 

What are we doing to get more women in tech? 

more women in tech on soundwave volanto background

At Volanto we are female founded and take every opportunity to promote women in tech and provide female tech role models. 

We offer flexible, remote working as standard so no one misses out by using that option. We understand that our team are all human, and we all have other commitments. That's ok. Additional commitments and life challenges make us more emotionally intelligent, more resilient and help us keep things in perspective. They make us better team mates. We celebrate our other commitments and what we learn from them. 

We are a fast growing business. If you would like to join our team please have a look at our news articles for any roles we are hiring.


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