In Defense of Women In Tech
There have been attempts to justify the stark gender disparity in tech. But none of them are valid.
Cascade Insights was recently asked to present our findings on the gender gap in tech. More than 1 million LinkedIn profiles of employees of 50 major tech companies revealed how far the industry is from achieving gender parity.
Our talk focused on our research into the gender breakdowns of tech giants, so we weren’t able to go into much detail about why there is a gender gap in tech. We would like to clear up some common misconceptions with this reading list.
There is nothing in women’s nature, collective ambitions, or capabilities that make them less qualified than men in STEM fields. While there are mountains of evidence to back up this unequivocal statement, we’ve included a small sampling here.
(We also presented our findings on ageism in tech. Check out our defense of age diversity in tech here.)
No, women are not genetically predisposed to lag in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
- “We’ve studied gender and STEM for 25 years. The science doesn’t support the Google memo.”
- “Why are there so few women in tech? The truth behind the Google memo.” The Guardian.
- “A Google employee was fired after blaming biology for tech’s gender gap — but the science shows he’s wrong.” Business Insider.
- “The Gender Similarities Hypothesis.” American Psychological Association.
Prevalent stereotypes affect the evaluation of women’s STEM abilities.
- “The 5 Biases Pushing Women Out of STEM.” Harvard Business Review.
- “How stereotypes impair women’s careers in science.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America (PNAS).
- “The Paradox of Meritocracy in Organizations.” Administrative Science Quarterly.
- “Too Sweet, Or Too Shrill? The Double Bind For Women.” Hidden Brain.
- “The Mind of The Village.” Hidden Brain.
Even in early education, implicit bias creates obstacles for girls in STEM.
- “On The Origins of Gender Human Capital Gaps: Short and Long Term Consequences of Teachers’ Stereotypical Biases.” The National Bureau of Economic Research.
- “How Elementary School Teachers’ Biases Can Discourage Girls From Math and Science.” The New York Times.
And it keeps going. Science faculty judge women more harshly than men in higher education.
- “Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America (PNAS).
- “Bias Persists for Women of Science, a Study Finds.” The New York Times.
Implicit bias impedes women’s career advancement. Few women reach the C-Suite in corporate America.
- “Women In The Workplace 2017.” LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company.
- “The State of The Gender Pay Gap in 2018.” PayScale.
Women are far less likely than men to hold leadership positions in tech companies. Thus, men are far more likely to control hiring, firing, raises, and promotions in the technology industry.
- “4 charts that show tech is still a man’s world.” World Economic Forum.
- “Gender Diversity in Silicon Valley.” Fenwick & West LLP.
- “Here’s the clearest picture of Silicon Valley’s diversity yet: It’s bad. But some companies are doing less bad.” Reveal from the Center of Investigative Reporting.
Not to mention the tech industry’s endemic sexual harassment which has prompted many women to leave.
- “60% Of Women In Silicon Valley Have Been Sexually Harassed.” Fast Company.
- “Nearly 80 percent of female tech founders have experienced sexual harassment at work or know someone who has.” Recode.
- “The Sexism Described in Uber Employee’s Report Is Why Women Leave Tech—Or Don’t Enter at All.” Slate.
So, bottom line…
The gender gap in tech cannot be written off as women being less capable or lacking the desire to have successful careers in STEM fields. There is no valid justification for the immense gender gap in tech.
Further, research shows that diversity actually benefits business. More diversity, more profits.
- “How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth.” McKinsey & Company.
- “Several New Studies Tie Diversity to Innovation, Profitability.” Gartner.
- “Why diversity matters.” McKinsey & Company.
- “Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter.” Harvard Business Review.
- “How and Where Diversity Drives Financial Performance.” Harvard Business Review.
How can we do better on gender diversity in tech? Here are some ideas.
- “Closing The STEM Gap.” Microsoft.
- “Hacking Tech’s Diversity Problem.” Harvard Business Review.
- “Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing.” American Association of University Women (AAUW).
This blog post is brought to you by Cascade Insights. With B2B focused market research and marketing services, Cascade Insights helps companies seize opportunities in the B2B technology sector.
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