Marissa Mayer may be the CEO of Yahoo, and Apple might recently have the made the big announcement of Google X Co-Founder Yoky Matsouka joining their workforce to work closely with the CEO, but it seems like women in the technology industry are grossly underrepresented. Recently, a study named “Elephant in the Valley,” dug deep and surveyed that only 200 women work at big tech companies like Google and Apple as well as start-ups.
However, girls have a great aptitude for technology. This is the result of a 2014 study of US students by the National Assessment for Educational Progress. The study reports that in fact girls do much more better than boys in technology or engineering education. If fact, girls surpass boys by merit in this field. The result was graded on the basis of an ability test with over 20,000 children, between 13-14 years of age They were asked to solve real-world scenario problems, focusing on three key areas: technology and society, design and systems, and information and communication technology.
The results were pleasantly surprising. 45% of the girls cracked the problems quicker and better as compared to the 42% of the boys. The disparity may not be huge, but the conclusions are significant. Peggy Carr, the acting commissioner of the National Centre for Education Statistics commented on the results, “Girls have the ability and critical thinking skills to succeed in fields of technology and engineering”, as reported by Weforum.
So if girls clearly have the aptitude, why is it that while there are millions of women working in the IT industry at various levels worldwide, why is that the number still so low as compared to men?
The International Communication Union reasons that most women are opinionated that the technology field is a male bastion which they hesitate to enter. Another study from the University of Texas says gender stereotypes and societal structures are the reasons why more women don’t go into STEM( Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) industries. Also family choices, or feeling physically unsafe at work problems have their roles to play, as reported by Vox. A prime example: When former Yahoo executive Michele Madansky and Trae Vassallo attempted a survey amongst women colleagues, they found that sixty percent of them had experienced sexual harassment, followed by demeaning comments made by male colleagues, or sexist behaviour at company off-sites or industry conferences. One woman had been groped by her boss at a company event.
“All the evidence points to obstacles and discouragement for women going into STEM fields,” Meg Urry, chair of the physics department at Yale University, said.
And the numbers tell the story. Women make up only 26% of the STEM workforce in developed countries. In Europe, out of the 7 million employed in the digital sector, women make up only 30%. Overall, women make up less than 40% of the workforce in many of the world’s leading tech companies. In India, while 9% of all Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are women, a large number of IT firms don’t have any woman in their technical teams, as per a report by Harvey Nash CIO.
While sexist incidents may keep women away from the tech industry, as the above study shows, when it comes to performance, women can give the men a run for their money, any day. So ladies, if you are a technology geek, go ahead and explore it! The world is waiting.
Feature Image Credit: masetv.com