The stigma that technology is a male-specific career is shattering thanks to an increase of women in the field of technology. These days, women represent 21 percent of the technology workforce. This might not seem like much, but this is exponentially greater than the 14 percent of women in technology in 2004.
The past few generations have created a push for women in technology and STEM by breaking up the formerly male-dominated “boys club” and creating a larger number of women in the technology workforce.
But specifically in the past five years, the Millennial generation has taken steps in reducing the acceptance of the stigma and is taking a more active approach of saying women can be scientists and women can work in technology. According to the New York Times, women represent 30 percent of millennials in technology careers.
That number is still pretty low. Going forward, how can we attract more women into high-level technology jobs?
There is no better time to foster a love of STEM than in young girls. Children are impressionable, and by making sure both girls and boys are learning and thriving in science, technology and math will help continue to drive down the stigma that women aren’t scientists. Programs in elementary schools and updated and increased STEM curriculum in programs like the Girl Scouts will help girls to discover a love for the science.
This love for the science, if fostered properly will continue through high school and into college, where currently more than half of those enrolled in science-based studies are female. Majors such as computer science, mathematics, engineering and graphic design are great majors to start for women who are interested in technology, specifically majors who require at least one internship.
Internships are a great way to get the required experience needed for even entry level jobs and offer an opportunity to get a “foot in the door” at companies that could offer a position with the company upon completion of the internship or graduation.
Don’t Dwell over Gaps in Résumés
These days, career pathing does not go in a straight line and as a society, we are becoming more accepting of gaps in résumés that are present due to taking time to care for family members or have children.
It is becoming more prevalent that women are taking that time, and then diving back into their careers again. 43 percent of women with children leave their jobs to care for their family. While leaves of absences are common for both men and women, it’s more often women who have taken time to focus on their family. These are individuals who could be just as talented or more than the candidate with an uninterrupted job history.
Focus on Mentoring
Mentoring is an easy way to help bolster the talent needed to create top talent that will be ready to take on leadership roles.
When you compare how a leader thinks, the thought process could be almost identical, and truly more reflective on how the individual processes information or comes to conclusions based on their own personal experiences more so than gender. However, the variable based on being male or female could be so slight, or so significant it could adjust their outcome of that thought. Mentoring across gender lines allows individuals to see business perspectives from all aspects, and consider how potentially differently they came to their conclusions.
Making sure select mentors with a wide variety of diversity, including gender, evolves the team and opens up more opportunity for learning the skills needed to work and partner more effectively.
This International Women’s Day, what are you or your company doing to help increase the number of women in technology careers? Let us know in the comments.