A Generation of Diversity
Technology is everywhere, and newer generations of children are exposed to technology at a young age. Most children develop their lifelong interests between ages 6 and 12. Will this increase in technological exposure help bridge the gap between men and women in tech by sparking an interest earlier in life?
In this day and age, diversity is a standard. Older generations faced [gender biases] (hyperlink “gender bias” to Women in Tech 9.26 blog once published) in most facets of life from a young age, including career choices. Little girls were taught for a long time that they could be something like a nurse or teacher when they grew up; most other careers went against the norm. Now, women don’t face the same biases they did for the greater part of the 20th century, but the gender divide in tech is still there – women hold only about 26% of tech roles.
Kids in Tech
There can’t be more women in tech if there aren’t more girls in tech first. The number of K-12 schools offering computer science courses has grown to 53%, but this increase doesn’t equal participation. Girls only make up ⅓ of students taking computer science courses, and well-off schools are more likely to offer computer science courses than lower-income schools.
There are still several hoops to jump through regarding computer science in schools, but we’re on the right track. Introducing young people to various fields is crucial in helping them discover what they want to achieve in the future, and computer science classes in schools are just one possibility. There are also several online courses kids can take to spark their interest in technology.
The Demand for Change
With the increased number of women in male-dominated fields, we’re looking at a potential culture shift within these industries, like the tech field. However, this change will be gradual; as it stands today, women still face workplace bias, even as the amount of representation rises.
Women face several stressors in the workplace, from mental well-being to wage differences and sexual harassment. 17% of women feel on edge at work compared to 6% of men, and that’s only where the gap between women and men in the workplace begins.
34% of women have been sexually harassed at their jobs, leading 38% of these women to leave their workplace. Leaving a job creates financial stress for these women, some of whom are already paid less than their male counterparts.
Male-dominated occupations pay more than female-dominated occupations at similar skill levels, like software engineering jobs. Women working in female-dominated fields only make about 66% of what men in male-dominated fields make – this is yet another statistic that demands change as the representation of women increases in male-dominated industries.
The new generation of kids is treated more fairly than ever before. Schools are encouraging both girls and boys to the tech space because tech is everywhere now and bridges all the gender gaps.
Girls should look to the technology-related programs offered in school to discover their interests. They can find teachers to act as mentors to guide them toward developing a passion for technology – finding outside programs to get involved in also helps.
BlackHawk Data hosts the Women in Tech event quarterly to highlight the strides female leaders are making in the IT channel. Hear from five leading women in IT in the live stream of the Women in Tech Event from Sept. 26.