Throughout history, and up until the 1980s, women were the pioneers and inventors who shaped technology. Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, Grace Hopper, who invented the first programming language compiler, Margaret Hamilton, whose code sent humans to the moon, Shirley Ann Jackson, the theoretical physicist responsible for fibre optic… The list goes on.
But around 1985, the number of women studying computer science started dropping, and it hasn’t stopped since. While there’s no clear-cut answer as to why it happened (but it’s probably because personal computers were heavily marketed towards men and boys), there is an answer to the gender imbalance plaguing the tech industry and the problems it causes:
Just give women a chance.
Women and minorities are the future of technology – yet the industry, in its current form, is dominated by a very select demographic: men. We believe that diversity, inclusion, and equality are real factors that will determine whether a business is successful, and shouldn’t be thought of as just numbers, quotas, or buzzwords.
The technology industry desperately needs more diversity in order to grow, thrive, and provide products and services that people actually want. It’s called cognitive diversity: a diverse workforce provides different insights and perspectives, and it represents the diverse population tech companies are trying to sell their products to. Women are responsible for almost 80% of all consumer purchasing worldwide, yet they barely make up a quarter of all technology professionals – and this lack of cognitive diversity is becoming an issue.
By making a conscious, common effort to improve the industry’s relationship with women, us technology companies can progress further. Our future depends on the consumers being represented within the industry, so we can provide them with the right things. With more women on board, businesses will get a better insight and understanding or a large portion of their customer base, and they’ll be able to develop products and services that truly reflect the needs of consumers.
What can we do about it?
We firmly believe initiatives dedicated to supporting the development of young female engineers, programmers and scientists are essential to improve tech’s relationship with women and are a very important part of the industry’s future.
This is why in a few months, stickee will start hosting a series of coding events in partnership with several local schools, where young girls will get to experience life at a technology company, learn about computing, and talk about the role women have been playing in tech for decades.
The series of workshops, called stickee tech club, aims to support the development of young, female talent and help build the skills of the next generation of innovators. We believe fostering this talent is essential to the future of technology. Please get in touch for more information, or if you’d like to be involved.