In many respects, it feels like we’re a million miles away from last year’s International Women’s Day discussions – and in other ways, we seemingly haven’t moved an inch. When it comes to supporting women in tech spaces, we still have much to do, and it makes sense to get it done.
Although the influence women have had on technology is undeniable (just ask Ada Lovelace, Annie Easley, Susan Wojcicki et al.), we’re still seeing a massive push to include women in tech spaces. Why? Because despite the influential women who have come before them, just 19% of tech roles are held by women today.
Unsurprisingly, there may still be a few dissenting voices asking why it matters, but there are some very good, very logical reasons behind the push for more women in tech – and even more reasons why it simply makes good sense to keep pushing.
Swim in a Bigger Pool
If the sudden pivot to supercharged remote working has taught recruiters and employers anything this past year, it’s that recruiting remotely opens up a whole new pool of talented prospective employees.
However, we didn’t need to get to the stage of virtual hires to know that there’s a whole contingent of potential waiting to be tapped into – it’s there in the statistics! If only 19% of roles are taken by women, there’s clearly room for some variety from the 81% we’ve grown used to. And there’s a reason that sourcing new talent is important…
We’re Facing a Widening Skills Gap
Even before COVID-19 entered the arena, UK businesses were already facing a sizeable challenge in the shape of a digital skills gap. Through a combination of Brexit pressure, growing demand, and lack of opportunities, the UK found itself in dire need of skilled individuals to contribute towards its digital ambitions.
A few years on, and we’re still at the mercy of the gap. Back in November 2020, Microsoft research uncovered the revelation that the digital skills gap could hamper the UK’s recovery and prevent organisations from reaching the global stage – putting us at a disadvantage as we emerge from the pandemic.
At this juncture, need we say more? Is it not common sense to invest in digital skills among women, tap into a substantial workforce, and channel a wide spectrum of innovative creativity into the UK’s development? Yes. The answer is a resounding yes.
Variety, Variety, Variety
As with all aspects of inclusion and diversity, there’s also the matter of variety in tech spaces, with women bringing different ideas, experiences, and insights to the table. Aside from the specific digital skills, we also need imagination, empathy, and different opinions in this industry – all of which can help to challenge preconceived notions around technology and what it can be.
Actively inviting women into these spaces injects discussions with fresh ideas, drawing on a whole host of different experiences – just as hiring individuals from BIPOC and LGBT communities offers up different perspectives. As a result, we get exciting new avenues to explore, and the chance to push back against stale, outdated ideas.
It’s Nobody’s Arena
Despite what you may have heard about Silicon Valley and the ‘bro’ culture of some startups, technology isn’t an arena any single group can lay claim to; it’s for everybody. Tech plays such a crucial part in our day-to-day lives, that it makes little sense to reserve involvement for one group over any others.
Instead, it’s up to us – all of us – to push for inclusion and diversity at every level, so that we can access the best the world has to offer. It makes sense to support women in tech because it makes sense that we should all contribute to the wonderful technology that will pave the way for our shared future.
So, this International Women’s Day, when you think of women in tech, consider how we can all work together to improve inclusion – and let’s get on track for a brighter future, together.
Happy International Women’s Day! Looking for more related content? Click here to listen to our Women in Tech podcast series, read our 2020 interview with Dr Celeste Chamberlain here, and take a walk down memory lane with last year’s feature article here.