Women as many as 38% working in the IT and tech industry claim that a lack of females in the sector made them wary of entering the profession. Kaspersky’s new Women in tech report has revealed some key reasons why women wary to enter the field of IT and technology.
Kaspersky’s new report Women in Tech report highlighted the significance of role models and the quest for gender diversity in the IT and tech industry. Only 19% of women currently working in the sector were encouraged to take up the key IT or technology roles.
The research surveyed 13,000 men and women working in IT. It found that almost half of women (43%) had to find their role through their own research. While a third (33%) of women said that they were encouraged into tech during their education in their school, college or university.
These numbers may sound encouraging and positive to indicate change at the grassroots stage, but the fact still remains there’s a lack of female representation. And that no less than a big barrier in bringing gender diversity in the workforce of the IT and tech industry.
Beyond some changes at the ground level, organisations in the sector will have to shake-up their structures to bring in a shift in mindset and cultural attitudes.
Since there’s a lack of female representation, the onus is on the industry to give senior IT or tech roles to women. And so they can become role models for other women in future
If there aren’t examples to follow, there isn’t a clear path for young women to take them from education, through to the industry, and then into senior roles further along in their career.
The results show a significant issue, highlighting the force of the ‘snowball effect’ if it travels in the wrong direction, according to Evgeniya Naumova, Kaspersky’s VP of Global Sales Network.
“For the women surveyed that had to take a leap of faith into the sector when there are so few examples of females who have trailblazed before them, it would have been incredibly daunting. But the research also draws a line and highlights the possibilities if there is a more positive shift in the future,” said Naumova.
“Having more females working within the industry could set an example and reassure others around certain fears associated with gender inequality. This could provide the catalyst that truly accelerates the change that is desperately needed,” added Naumova.
The study also supported the view that females can lead the way for other females. Increasing the number of role models in IT will demonstrate to future entrants the skills and benefits that can be obtained from a career in the sector.
Among the surveyed 44% of women earmarked problem-solving skills as a prime example, while 40% simply allude to the positive salaries. These positives are not currently being filtered down to young women interested in technology as a career.
The IT and technology field will have to encourage more women to enter the field in order to change the current scenario. And it will help to have more women role models in the industry and hence will lead to a positive snowball effect in motion.
Dr Patricia Gestoso, Head of Scientific Customer Support at BIOVIA, 2020 Women in Software Changemakers winner, and Ada’s List member believes there are many ways to change the narrative for women, beginning with “demystifying the belief that all IT jobs are about coding”.
“There are a wealth of other opportunities such as product management, project management, UX design, support, and training. It’s also important to highlight the advantages of a career in tech,” said Gestoso.
“Whilst tech careers are usually marketed by hard skills exclusively such as maths, computers and logic, it’s important to highlight that skills such as collaboration, communication, and customer skills are key to a variety of tech roles,” she added.
By taking steps now to ensure that more women not only enter the field but excel in it, will help to encourage more women to take up IT and technology as a profession in future. This will also help in bringing in gender equality and diversity as well.
The organisations in the IT and technology sector, as well as other sectors, need to take-up concrete steps every year that would actually make celebrations of International Women’s Day more meaningful and real.
(Image source – Kaspersky)