When Netflix and Facebook updated their maternity leave policies at the end of 2015 it reignited the debate about women in the technology industry and how it is a male dominated arena. Information gathered for a recent infographic by Coupofy.com reveals that 56% of women who begin a career in tech end up leaving midway through.
30% of women that quit tech fall into the category of those who have trouble with poor pay, long hours, and the feeling that they cannot get promoted to the top positions. 27% leave because they don't get enough time to be with their families, 22% simply no longer enjoy the day to day work itself, and 17% did not enjoy the company environment, be it their bosses, co-workers or the general culture of the company.
Of course, there's no way of knowing the degree of which these reasons are based in gender inequality, however in an industry that is dominated and led by men it has to play a role. 80% of all new technology companies are started by men, 83% of Chief Information Officers in the Fortune 500 are men, 95% of tech investors are men, and around 93% of the richest people in tech are men. Couple this with the fact that most tech icons such as Mark Zuckerberg or the late Steve Jobs are men, it's pretty logical to assume that women are at a disadvantage, even if there's no conscious intent.
This disparity may not be around forever, though, as leading tech companies have started to change their hiring practises, and many trailblazing women are opening up doors that previously appeared shut.
Indeed, although men clearly still have the lion's share of tech startups, the number of women founding companies has jumped by 100% in the past 5 years. Likewise despite being underrepresented in the CIO position, in the Fortune 15 companies, there are 6 female CIOs, showing that changes may be coming from the top down.
This is echoed by the 8 biggest tech firms in the world (Apple, Google, Facebook, eBay, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo!, and LinkedIn), who are now bringing in women at a rate 238% faster than their male counterparts.
There are also those who managed to buck the system and reach the top in spite of their gender. Take Zhou Qunfei of Lens technology in China. She founded the touchscreen maker in 2003 and is now worth $7.5 billion, with contracts with Apple and other leading mobile device brands. Then there's Denise Coates of betting site bet365 (worth $2.9 billion) and Judy Faulkner of medical tech firm Epic (worth $2.6 billion).
But how do we make this a common occurrence instead o the exception? If it's the long hours and lack of family time that is causing most women to quit tech (or perhaps never enter the field) then implementing flexible hours and remote work policies would make sense. And this, of course, wouldn't just benefit women. Research suggests everyone is happier working outside of the office and personal relationships are improved.
Several venture capital firms have taken charge and are actively trying to increase the number of successful women in tech. They're doing this by investing only in female found startups. These include Golden Seed, Built By Girls, and Belle Capital. This approach coupled with the hiring of more women at leading firms definitely seems to be turning the tide. However, there's still a long road ahead.
To learn more about the female tech landscape be sure to check out the "33 Must Know Facts about Women in Tech" infographic from Coupofy.
Made by: Coupofy
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