Women in Technology: Breaking Barriers in a Male-Dominated Field

In the contemporary landscape of technology, there exists an undeniable gender disparity, with women significantly underrepresented in technical roles. Despite advancements in promoting diversity and inclusion, the tech industry continues to grapple with systemic barriers that hinder the full participation of women. According to research from Zippia, women make up 47% of the U.S. workforce, and as of 2022, they only make up 28% of the tech industry, revealing a stark reality: women remain a minority in tech-related professions, which raises concerns about equality, innovation, and societal progress. There has been much progress from organizations like Per Scholas and TEKsystems, who put diversity and inclusion at the forefront of their decision-making to increase results for companies’ bottom lines.

Persistent Gender Disparity Still Exists Across America

Despite concerted efforts to bridge the gender gap in technology, recent data underscores the persistence of disparity in a sense of belonging percentages between men and women, highlighting a substantial underrepresentation in tech. This data reflects a broader trend observed globally, where women continue to encounter obstacles in pursuing and thriving in technical careers and feel they don’t have the same growth opportunities as their male counterparts.

Barriers to Entry and Advancement

Numerous factors contribute to the underrepresentation of women in technology roles. Discrimination and bias in recruitment and hiring processes present formidable barriers, perpetuating a male-dominated culture within tech companies. Additionally, societal stereotypes and cultural norms often discourage girls and women from pursuing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields from an early age, limiting their exposure to technical education and career opportunities. 

To combat barriers to entry and advancement for women in tech, Per Scholas focuses on training individuals typically underrepresented in tech roles – including women. Currently, two in five learners are women, a statistic that has continued to grow as we provide the necessary skills to break into tech. Our partner TEKsystems has also made it a priority to break barriers to entry and advancement by hiring skilled women into tech roles. 

Ammu Nair joined Per Scholas Seattle’s Full Stack Java Developer cohort in 2022. She had 3+ years of Java Development experience but had a hard time obtaining a career in the field.  Ammu had a large career gap due to personal events and felt that since her experience was not from the US, her skills were overlooked. She was able to prove herself throughout Per Scholas’ training, and with TEKsystems’ job placement, launched her career as an Associate Software Engineer. Ammu has aspirations to continue her career in technology and grow into a senior-level Developer.

Impact on Innovation and Diversity

The underrepresentation of women in technology has significant implications for innovation and diversity within the industry. Research suggests that diverse teams, encompassing a variety of perspectives and experiences, are more adept at problem-solving and driving creativity. However, the homogeneity prevalent in many tech workplaces stifles innovation by limiting the range of ideas and approaches.

Furthermore, the absence of gender diversity perpetuates the development of products and services that may overlook the needs and preferences of diverse user demographics. By neglecting the perspectives of women in the design and development process, tech companies risk creating products that fail to address the concerns and interests of half the population, ultimately undermining their market competitiveness and societal impact.

Addressing the Disparity: Towards Gender Equity in Tech

Efforts to address the gender disparity in technology must encompass multi-faceted strategies aimed at promoting inclusivity, equity, and opportunity for women. Initiatives such as mentorship programs, diversity training, and inclusive recruitment practices can help mitigate biases and create more supportive environments for women in tech. TEKsystems’ recent DEI report maps out how to address the lack of diversity in an organization and provides statistics that show while there is progress happening, there is always room for advancement in DEI. 

TEKsystems Global Services has hired many women through Per Scholas training into their workforce upskilling programs provided for their clients. Their technical practice is a safe space for women and a place that is focused on inclusion and connection. By championing diversity and inclusion as core values, tech companies can foster environments where women feel valued, empowered, and able to thrive professionally.

The underrepresentation of women in technology remains a pressing challenge that demands concerted action and commitment from all stakeholders. As the tech industry continues to drive innovation and shape the future of society, it is imperative to dismantle systemic barriers, challenge stereotypes, and foster inclusive cultures so we can create a more equitable and vibrant tech ecosystem that harnesses the full potential of all individuals, regardless of gender. The bottom line is that diversity of thought generates increased ROI and innovation – and that growth lies in the experience and skills of women in tech. To learn more about hiring women in tech, contact us at [email protected].


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