Women in Tech Matter: 5 Female Trailblazers Leading The Tech World and Why Gender Diversity In Tech Matters?

Women in Tech Matter: 5 Female Trailblazers Leading The Tech World and Why Gender Diversity In Tech Matters?

We keep hearing about how the technology sector is advancing rapidly with new technologies and new roles emerging every day with a big need to hire tech talent which is diverse and equal and yet this rosy picture seems to elude a substantial part of the other half of the human population, i.e. the women.

A tech revolution is happening and yet women sitting on the fence? Kicking around why we need more Women in Tech:

STEM Degrees and The Academic Gap

The first signs of gap start emerging from the school where the pinkification of subjects happens leaving fewer girls opting for STEM subjects in the first place though girls traditionally perform better than boys at the school level at least. This situation worsened when we looked at the college-level statistics. There is a huge disparity between the ratio of men and women opting for  STEM subjects, while women at the undergrad level showed a preference for biological sciences, an abysmal (18%) chose engineering,  (20%), physical sciences (39%), and mathematics (43%), according to the National Girls Collaborative Project.

As per Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), women represented 45% of students majoring in STEM fields in 2020, which is the best in the world. While the enrollment in STEM  is certainly positive, the workforce trend analysis shows that a high enrollment rate at the undergrad level does not translate into employability and job opportunities. The workforce representation presents a very curious case specific to India. 

The leak in the pipeline happens at two stages. First, the entry-level barrier, gender stereotypes play a huge role when women opt for subjects for higher education, STEM subjects being viewed as masculine. Only 6% of women opt for engineering or technology subjects for their PHDs and fewer still take it up as jobs. The second trickling out of the workforce happens due to domestic commitments. 

Women in tech matter, let’s explore Why Gender Diversity In Tech Matters?

For India to become a world leader in technology it is absolutely imperative that not just India Inc opens up to more women at entry level and leadership roles equally. The other part of the equation is that the emerging Edu tech sector needs to step up and address this important issue by providing upskilling solutions targeting women in tech.

As more and more organizations are entering the digital space, their core business processes are undergoing rapid changes too. Banks like J P Morgan and Goldman Sachs have more than 20% of their employees’ identity as technologists. The ever increasing demand for cyber security experts and data scientists and product managers needs not just a skilled workforce but more innovation and reduced biases which only a diverse talent pool can provide. 

Better opportunities, support, and access to a chance are some of the factors that will help women in tech not just enter but thrive in their tech careers. 

Let’s take a look at some of the trailblazing women in tech and get inspired before we get into a discussion regarding how tech culture needs to reform.

If you love watching Youtube videos, you must take a moment to thank Susan Wojcicki, and while you are at it, also thank her for renting out her garage space to Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the very guys who made Google. This humanities graduate developed an interest in science in her final year at college and went on to complete her MSc in Economics and MBA as Google’s marketing manager developed tools like Google Images and Google Book. She was the reason Google acquired Youtube which was just starting and changed the way content was consumed. Adword and Adsense are her other major contributions.

Can you imagine a life without Wifi, GPS, and Bluetooth communication systems? Well then learn about Hedy Lamarr, who was more than just a beautiful face, an actress by profession but a curious inventor at heart. She developed a system of guiding torpedoes via “frequency hopping” as the transmitter and receiver jumped to new targets together. This formed the basis of the wifi technology as we know it today. Years later she was awarded the Pioneer Award, and Invention Convention’s Bulbie Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, and was also inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame after her death.

Meet the “Mother of the Internet” Radia Perlman’s phenomenal work in the field of network communications is one of the most significant contributions made to computer sciences in an individual capacity. A Mathematics major with a Ph.D. in Computer Sciences, Radia developed IS-IS protocol as a part of her work at Digital Equipment Corporation which became the foundation for network protocol and also designed The Spanning Tree Protocol, the basic traffic rules for the internet.

Elizabeth and her team came up with the domain naming scheme of .com, .gov, .org, .net, and .edu a simple but significant contribution without which accessing any website without it might be unimaginable

Lawyer, politician, and civil servant but more than anything else a champion for the cause to bring more girls into STEM and bridge the gaping gap between the poor representation of women in tech. She started Girls Who Code in 2012, a program that starts for girls from grade 3 and goes all the way to college. Her organization empowers girls to learn computing skills and create opportunities for themselves. More than 45000 girls, many belonging to the Black, Latina, and low-income communities have benefitted from the organization and its resources. 

Having discussed the amazing contributions made by these women, we now need to take a look at why the tech culture needs to change. 

The tech culture needs to reset to accommodate more women in tech.

The technology sector and the education sector need to make some changes to accommodate more women. Some of the steps that can be taken are:

  • An inclusive organizational culture dissuades the “bro culture” and promotes inclusiveness and diversity
  • A clear career path, flexibility, and support will ensure women stay in the workforce
  • Supportive classroom for women who opt for tech programs with adequate mentorship and guidance 
  • More encouragement at the school level for girls to take STEM subjects and build their confidence

The Ed-tech sector with the use of technology can become a viable option for women in tech who want to upskill without investing a lot of money. 

FunctionUp is one such pay-after-placement boot camp that offers a 50% scholarship to our female students and empowers them to start a career in tech without having to invest heavy sums of money. We understand the significance of gender diversity in the tech workforce and appreciate the innovation and fresh impetus brought in by women. 

If you are a woman who is a recent graduate and wants to explore a career in technology, explore FunctionUp here:

We help you break the glass ceiling which blocks entry to tech. We are a team of IIT / ISB alumni who are passionate about solving the key problem of starting a career in tech. A lot of smart and handworking graduates find it difficult to crack high paying tech jobs either because of their background and their college not being able to help them get interviews. Hence, we started this placement bootcamp that hand holds people from skilling till employment.

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