The Struggle to Succeed For Women in Tech
“Right now is a great time to be a woman in tech, but there’s not enough women in tech.” – Marissa Mayer
Ask anybody that has ever taken a computer science or cybersecurity class, and they’ll tell you that for every twenty males sitting in the lecture hall, there is one female.
There’s no doubt that the demographic within the technical field is wildly unbalanced. It does not mean, however, that there are not many women today that are making it big and climbing the ladder. For example, companies such as YouTube, IBM, and Facebook each have female CEOs and COOs. Susan Wojcicki (CEO of Youtube), Ginni Rommetty (CEO of IBM), and Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) all made it to the top 3 Most Powerful Women In Tech in Forbes’ 2018 ranking. Despite not being as common as males holding executive positions, in recent years, women are definitely making their mark in the field, serving as role models for women considering and getting a start in their technical careers.
Overcoming Barriers and Under Representation
For fear of isolation and potentially being belittled in the workforce, many women shy away from the prospect of working in computer science, engineering, technology, and cybersecurity. Ironically though, employers note that women often make ideal fits in these roles.
Technology is perpetually advancing, and with that comes a certain level of intensity and fast pace that is not necessarily for everybody. Every day there is something new to learn, something different and challenging coming up. Studies show that women that thrive in the tech field do so because of their curiosity and abilities to adapt to their ever changing environments.
On that note, building a career in technology is undoubtedly more challenging for women than it is for men. For starters, the 20:1 ratio is intimidating. But even then, statistics show that when women begin a career in tech, they do not tend to stick to it as long as men do. What is the reason for this?
Many women report feelings of isolation. This is definitely hindering and intimidating in a male-driven field. But luckily there is something to be done.
Closing the Gender Gap in Tech
The internet has no bounds, meaning there is a number of forums and support groups for women who are starting out or are trying to further expand their horizons relative to their career. When asked what their secret was, many notable women holding executive positions in technical companies insist that women need to make it a point to stay connected. Remembering that they are not alone is step one. More importantly, however, is the drive to follow through with finding other women that can also relate. Building a web and using this combined solidarity is the secret to propelling themselves and fellow female peers further.
Among the many forums and outlets that provide a safe haven for women to find a small community within the ever growing tech community, are several organizations that exist for no other reason than to support this cause.
The gender gap is real. So groups such as Girls Who Code, Girls In Tech, and Girl Geek Dinners make it a point to emphasize the importance of attempting to close said gap. At the very least, it provides women with programs, mentors, events and startups. One should never underestimate the importance of networking. Meeting one fellow woman in tech at the right place, right time could be exactly what a young girl starting out in cybersecurity needs to feel welcome in the field.
With nationwide coverage, there is no doubt that, through these programs and organizations, women will be changing the history of tech as we know it.