5 reasons why women are underrepresented in software engineering
The technology landscape dominated by the male presence is a well-established and known fact. According to reports conducted by Pew Research Center and Adeva, women constitute only 25% of total technical workforce and 14% of total technical and non-technical workforce in the IT companies. That leaves us with the thought that women in the IT world are overly underrepresented. Mathematically, it is no wonder that an average Joe thinks about a man as a representative of an IT person. The reason for this state of affairs is multiplex and not easy to answer. However, you will find a couple of reasons below that are partly responsible for the current situation.
1. The “pop-culture problem”
The culture of IT is often unwelcoming or even hostile to women, driving them away from the field.
The media influences our thoughts mostly subconsciously and these thoughts creep into our lives steering our behavior. When you watch TV shows about tech people, the entertainment industry showcases men as the main characters with astonishing skills. The women characters are either absent or they are shown as the sex objects where their main purpose is to be attractive and pursue a man. The media neglects the fact that there are women in tech who are both attractive and skilled.
2. The “visibility problem”
Women are often left out of the IT conversation in both the media and the industry, further exacerbating the lack of female representation in the field.
The propagation of information about women’s achievements in the computer science world is not viral and spread enough. That deficiency creates a societal view on women not being able to handle the job. And that is clearly not true. Have you ever heard about Ada Lovelace? Well, she was computer science’s Wonder Woman. Ada is considered (by many) to be the first author of a computer program for the Analytical Engine, a blueprint for today’s general-purpose computer envisioned in 1837. In our modern times, Lisa Su, AMD’s CEO, is one of many female role models in tech. She revived AMD from the brink of bankruptcy and brought the company on par with top chip-makers.
3. The “biological proclivity problem”
The stereotype about men being the right match for IT vacancies prevails in our collective conscience. But is it true?
Some psychologists ascribe the disparity of gender to a biological proclivity. It is thought that men tend to be more interested in things whereas women tend to be more interested in people. Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychology professor, shared his thoughts about why women don’t want to follow engineering career paths in the video below.
4. The “pipeline problem”
Women are not encouraged to enter the field of IT in the first place, so the pool of potential female IT professionals is smaller to begin with.
There are a number of reasons why women are not encouraged to enter the field of IT. One reason is that the industry is male-dominated, and women may feel unwelcome or outnumbered. Additionally, women may feel that they lack the necessary skills or experience to enter the field. What’s more, because of the pay gap between men and women in IT, women may feel that they would be at a disadvantage in terms of compensation.
5. The “family problem”
Women in IT often face challenges balancing their work and family responsibilities, leading to a higher rate of attrition from the field.
Working as a software engineer and having a family life can have certain drawbacks. One is that it could be challenging to find time for family activities because the work can be quite time-consuming and stressful and can have an adverse effect on family life. Software engineering may be a very competitive industry, which puts strain on both work and family life.
In spite of all of this, the IT world is one of the most interesting and challenging fields of work for women. It is a dynamic, rapidly growing sector with a lot of opportunities for career advancement. In the IT industry, women can have a successful career and earn a lot of money. They can also have a great impact on the development of the industry. The IT industry is constantly changing and evolving and that’s why women in the IT industry are in a unique position to shape the future of the industry.