The Robots are Taking Over - The Importance of Women and Diversity in Tech


Technology is ever expanding and growing in capabilities, as is our reliance on it in all fields of business. The more integrated and impactful it becomes, the more we see conversation around who is involved in the processing, development and use of technology. Through a simple online search, there is a plethora of articles available that refers to the lack of women working in the tech field and goes on to encourage young people to focus their attention to new technology and degrees, which will hopefully lead them into the STEM field. The workforce requires greater numbers of skilled professionals than currently available, and when gender diversity is factored in, we can all see that something needs to change. This is not just an issue of getting more women interested in tech, but there is also a problem with the low number of women and lack of diversity in high-ranking management roles within the tech industry. 

Currently, under 20% of software engineers, who are building the Internet, are women. This number naturally raises suspicions and concern among those interested in having more diversity within mid to high-ranking roles. It is a general understanding that there needs to be greater female representation in the technology sector. But why, exactly? Why is it so important that diversity exists in tech? Technology has become so advanced that it has become ingrained into daily activities, playing into our thought processes, tracking our buying patterns, etc. So the individuals that are involved with the actual creation of the tech (that our society has grown so dependent on) carry a lot of responsibility. And what happens when women are not involved in the creation and development processes? Current prejudices and ingrained, damaging, out-dated ways of thinking may actually become part of AI software’s programming. For example, a few years ago Apple made a small mistake on the health app it released. The intention was for the HealthKit app to enable users to track every part of their health, right down to the details of sodium intake. Apple Software executive Craig Federighi said, "With Health, you can monitor all of your metrics that you’re most interested in." However, a woman’s monthly cycle, and the changes it has on her body were simply left out of the equation. After the release of HealthKit, it took a year to fix this seemingly obvious error. This is only one example of how the development of tech requires gender diversity, ensuring that both male and female eyes are on the projects and a part of the advancements. Currently, the focus of the tech world is dominated by artificial intelligence software. Female insight and contribution is necessary to make sure that as our tech moves forward, we are not overpowered by male-only viewpoints, suggestions and decisions. 

Within the tech world, involvement is key. However you choose to get involved and get others involved will undoubtedly make a difference. If you are ready to take on more responsibility and be a leader in the space, there are many things you can do to get more senior roles and progress with upward mobility in your profession. Making the decision to get more involved is the most important part. It is crucial to be a proactive advocate for yourself. The tech space is extremely competitive, so it is important to really go after what you want. According to a report by the National Center for Women and Information Technology, women held only 25% of computing jobs in the United Sates in 2015. The percentages of women of color don’t even hit double digits. At the executive level, women’s representation is only 14%. Once you decide to beat the statistics, it is time to take action. Let people know what your goals are and what you want. It is extremely helpful to connect with other women professionals and create a support system. Find a mentor, connect with others, and become a mentor yourself. You will always be thankful for a support system and for others who are also trying beat the stats. The more people fighting for work diversity, the better. Numbers of involvement and determination matter here, as that is what will really gain momentum and make a difference in the world. 

Organizations, and the space in general, can improve the way that they foster environments that promote diversity. Nowadays, it is very common to see teams that are focused on inclusion within an organization. The more companies that take individual initiatives to help minorities rise in the company ranks, the more others do the same, meaning as a business women you have the power and possibility to make a real difference for others. Putting a focus on workplace support is especially crucial for this shift. Life does go on as employees leave work, and bringing a little more empathy to business will only make people happier and organizations better. 

It is important to remain optimistic but also be active in making a change rather than just hoping it will happen. The more diversity we have in high-ranking roles, the better it will be for business, and for future generations of managers and leaders.


I hope you enjoyed this article about why it's so important to increase diversity in tech.

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