Promoting gender equality is an essential bedrock for a peaceful, progressive and sustainable world. The tech industry has faced challenges in attracting and retaining women. Women in tech are not only missing in senior or managerial roles but at all levels of the technology sector: from the applicant pool, technical jobs, executive and corporate boards, inventors, seed-funding recipients, and investors.
Research has shown that women are twice as likely as men to leave the tech sector and tend to do so by the time they reach mid-career level.
Apart from diversity resulting in increased innovation and better problem solving, the digital gap will be closed and women’s economic power will be improved if there are more women in tech. Hence, tech organisations need to play a role in welcoming more women into the tech industry.
The most primary step all organisations can take is to educate their employees on holding prejudice or gender stereotypes about women as this grossly affects decision making. Companies can establish mandatory diversity programs in their on-boarding process to help employees understand their biases and their effects on objectivity. Recognising that we all have biases and understanding what groups of people we might subconsciously discriminate against is important in altering our behaviour for the better.
Another way to make your organisation diverse is to restructure your hiring process. Using human resources in the hiring process can lead to biases getting in the way of finding the right candidates and building barriers to diversifying your workforce. Candidates should be assessed on their skills and suitability for the role/company – and not judged by their gender, age, hair texture, or parental status.
Also, restructuring your compensation structure can help balance the pay gap in the tech industry. According to Payscale, women earn 77.9 cents for every dollar a man earns. That’s a 22% pay gap. Companies need to proactively assess their compensation structures to ensure that people are compensated equally for the same work.
Working on eliminating gender bias in the workplace, especially in the tech industry, can help bridge the digital divide, the pay gap and ultimately play a vital role in empowering women socially and economically (SDG 5).