Tim Cook sees no good reason for the lack of women in tech
In an interview with the BBC, Apple CEO Tim Cook called out the lack of women in technology. He even said that no excuse can justify it. Many attributed this statement to public relations for Apple’s recent iPhone products. However, the topic has long been a hot topic in the tech industry.
The following statistics paint a picture of the state of affairs in the United States on women in technology. Women include:
- 33% of the tech workforce
- 25% technical roles
- 10% of tech founders
These numbers might not seem like a big deal for smaller sectors of the economy. But, for a big industry like technology, that’s a huge gap.
By comparison, Sales has a 45% female representation in their workforce. An increase in the number of tech jobs for women can strengthen equality.
Kind words and platitudes
Activists and researchers say industry CEOs have long made positive comments about women in tech. But, big talk doesn’t mean much if CEOs don’t back it up with plans to increase tech jobs for women.
Diversity and equality are buzzwords today but remain mere symbolic gestures. It is harder for women to get and keep technology jobs.
In Apple’s case, the recent back-to-work order was bad news for its employees.
The work-from-home arrangement has removed many barriers for women in tech. Back-to-work orders can force women out of their jobs for positions that offer better work-life balance.
Cultural Barriers to Women in Tech
Legally, women have no barriers to entry into technology. However, the United States still has cultural barriers against women in tech. These barriers are collectively known as the glass ceiling.
Mainly, stereotypes view women as unfit to excel in technological education. Additionally, tech colleges are male-dominated and offer fewer amenities to attract female students.
In addition, traditional stereotypes prohibit women from doing certain jobs. The modern tech startup space is plagued by sexism and discrimination against women. Such environments make it harder for women to excel in technology through hard work and talent alone.
Finally, women have to deal with cultural expectations of child care. These cultural pressures follow a woman into her late twenties and beyond. Unfortunately, this is also the ideal age for tech specialists to improve in their field.
Certainly, there are also objective reasons why technology does not have as many women in the workforce. Primarily, younger women simply have better options in certain situations.
Research shows that men and women have the same aptitude for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). But, on average, women have better language and communication skills than men.
As a result, many young women choose to work in the communications industry. These fields offer better positions for young professionals and have less competition. However, STEM fields offer better incentives for leadership positions.
Another issue is work-life balance. Even Apple’s CEO mentioned that his work-life balance was “not great”. Even with a good salary, tech jobs often lead to burnout due to overwork. More than 50% of new recruits are exhausted by the end of their first year.
With such high burnout rates, it’s rational to assume that technology isn’t appealing to many people, especially women.
Simple ways to attract tech talent
Instead of talking loud and clear about gender equality in the workplace, managers should be working on solutions. These solutions should aim to attract more women into technology. For example, women cite fair working conditions and good pay as incentives for employment.
The boot space is a little more problematic. Closer social circles make it difficult for women tech founders to secure funding and top talent.
Despite this, women will work in tech with a good offer and visible incentive in the field.
So the easiest way to get more women into tech is to offer work-life balance or raise salaries.
But if companies increase women’s wages, they should also increase men’s. We only have to refer to Google’s Mistake of 2019 to avoid repeating a similar situation. When investigating gender inequality, they found that Google was underpaying male employees.
Too little, too late
The biggest criticism of gender equality is that efforts are too slow to matter in the long run. As the industry grows rapidly, workforce representation can reach a 50/50 split without women seeing the benefits.
Namely, companies with amazing workplaces and diversity policies also have lower-paying jobs and fewer options for progression. This situation does not encourage existing women specialists to embrace their work.
Finally, companies can adapt their current positions to better accommodate young female experts. This will increase the number of women in technology and talent in general. In addition, it solves the cultural barriers that women currently face.