Web Content Manager
Historically, technology has always been dominated by men, and even today, the top CEOs of today’s leading platforms are white men. Women and people of color are extremely underrepresented in the technology industry and engineering fields. Culturally, we do not encourage young girls to pursue such fields. Why? Well, it could be a mix of lack of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum in schools or the stigma that only boys can be good at math and science which studies have proven otherwise.
As a woman in technology, it can be intimidating and overwhelming to walk into a room full of men. Caeley Looney, student at Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University described her personal experiences being a young woman in technology as, “Have you ever felt all the eyes in the room hit you simultaneously as you walked in? Or maybe you felt surrounded by people who don’t look and think like you but are certain that their way is the right way? Being a woman in tech is something like that. Every day I walk into classrooms filled with 30 to 50 students and I am no longer shocked to see I’m one of the only females in the room.”
Being the only woman in the room, you feel as if you have to prove yourself to everyone else around you. It’s natural to feel defensive and nervous but that needs to change. From my own personal experience, there is always going to be someone who says, “Wait, you don’t look like an engineer?” Or the number of times when I was 1 of maybe 5 or 6 women in a class of 60+ men taking a programming class.
Women and men are equally able to do the same job, however boys are taught from childhood that they can do certain things that girls can’t. With this ideology, we are disqualifying young girls without giving them a chance. We are able to see this in schools. Young girls aren’t being encouraged enough to pursue these professions. Naomi Thomas, a successful young female entrepreneur and CEO, said, “I used to feel like an outsider because I liked to code. I was different, and at the time I didn’t know it was a good thing. Throughout college, I gained confidence and I am now proud to be making history. I am honored to be a woman in tech.”
According to the US Department of Labor, women occupy 57 percent of the workforce but only 26 percent are in computing and mathematical occupations. This is a large underrepresentation of women in the STEM field that is becoming a more and more integral part of how we live and progress. With a large number of women representing the way we consume, interact and produce certain products the inclusivity and diversity needs to be in place as well. Diversity is healthy; it yields positive results for companies and businesses who want to reach as many people as possible. As the world moves forward, we need more women taking seats at the table where decisions are made. We need more people who look differently than one another to facilitate the difference in ideas, backgrounds and perspectives.
It’s imperative that companies aim to include women in the decision making process that drives their missions forward because we not only occupy a large number of the market, but we also need to ensure that everyone is accounted for.