Back Why don’t women choose a career in tech?
Arguably, the disregard for IT from girls begins with external influences such as education. There is no significant evidence suggesting males are more academically advanced in IT just potentially a higher rate of self-efficacy, meaning more males in a classroom, therefore girls immediately experience a lack of belonging in IT education. Most girls would have experienced parental/guardian guidance prior to or at the point of choosing their ‘options’, where unless parents have prior knowledge in this sector, they naturally encourage their children to pursue something they enjoy.
Self-efficacy remains with the individual for life, throughout their personal experiences, education and future work experiences. As a woman myself, I personally would find it challenging fitting into a fully male-dominated environment, classroom or workspace, therefore this is a key deterrent for women looking into a career in IT. There are certainly other limitations for women entering a career in IT such as; job descriptions and interview processes which can be biased towards male applicants without the recruiter even being aware! This links to the fear that we as women believe we might not be as capable as our male co-workers or classmates, which, as a female, I think we’ve all experienced to some degree.
My understanding keeps circulating three key themes; education, confidence and role models. Through parental/guardian support and the education systems, we should be embedding self-efficacy for our future talent pool to ensure our girls have the confidence to pursue any path of further education and employment.
Outside the classroom, girls might have a role model such as a female relative or someone in industry if they are already this way inclined, nonetheless it’s sometimes difficult to have a female role model if girls don’t know any women in the profession. Something the IT industry should address by making such role models more visible on appropriate digital platforms.
Capital One research identified two core reasons to understand why the number of women leaving the IT industry has been increasing; weak management support and the lack of further opportunity . Interestingly, the research also suggested that many women, who have remained in the IT industry have considered leaving due to lack of opportunity, unfair compensation compared to their male peers and little management support . Clearly, our industry needs to be appealing to girls at school but also women also throughout their careers whether they are in tech or embarking on a new career in tech. As women’s personal lives change - IT roles are needed to adapt too!
On the other hand, the bigger picture, questions whether girls and women are aware of the roles that are available in digital in terms of creativity, marketing, gaming, and media roles. Arguably we have a connotation of what a job in IT looks like. Is this something that prevents females from beginning a career in tech?
However, it’s safe to assume that women are outnumbered in the IT industry, potentially underpaid and disregarded within day to day IT roles. Moving forward, BCS, The Chartered Institute of IT, encourages making the workplace an inclusive environment for everyone working in the IT industry with support such as mentorship, progression programs, and confidence building to ensure we women are treated identically to our male co-workers and are given the opportunities to thrive in the IT industry.