Jessica Tan (Ping An Group), Rong Lin (Matrixport) and Chirutha Dalal (Pay1) join Gwynne Shotwell (SpaceX), Safre Catz (Oracle) and Gail Carmichael (Shopify) as women leaders who are breaching the glass ceiling and showing the world that there is an opportunity in this generation to rise above the challenge.
But the Kaspersky Women in Tech report the effort is still not enough with 38% of women working in the IT and tech industry claiming a lack of females in the sector made them wary of entering the profession.
Per the report, 53% of the 13,000 men and women working in IT who participated in the global survey agree that the number of women in senior IT and technology roles in their organisations has increased over the past two years.
Respondents said the move to work from home has helped women feel more autonomous in their roles – improving both their confidence and career prospects.
Still, the current lack of female representation is still a key barrier to achieving a diverse workforce. Only 19% of women currently working in the sector were encouraged to take up a role in IT or technology by a female role model.
If there aren’t examples to follow, there isn’t a clear path for young women to take them from education, through to the industry, and then into senior roles further along in their career.
Evgeniya Naumova, vice president of the Global Sales Network at Kaspersky said the results demonstrate a significant issue, highlighting the force of the ‘snowball effect’ if it travels in the wrong direction.
She added that the research also draws a line and highlights the possibilities if there is a more positive shift in the future. “Having more females working within the industry could set an example and reassure others around certain fears associated with gender inequality. This could provide the catalyst that truly accelerates the change that is desperately needed,” she continued.
Call to lead the way
The research findings also support the view that females can lead the way for other females. Increasing the number of role models in IT will demonstrate to future entrants the skills and benefits that can be attained from a career in the sector.
Among respondents, 44% earmarked problem-solving skills as a prime example, while 40% simply allude to the positive salaries that can be achieved. Unfortunately, these positives are not currently being filtered down to young women interested in technology as a career. If this picture is improved, however, more women will enter the industry and excel, thus becoming role models themselves – a positive snowball effect in motion.
Dr Patricia Gestoso, head of Scientific Customer Support at BIOVIA, 2020 Women in Software Changemakers winner, and Ada’s List member believes there are many ways to change the narrative for women, beginning with “demystifying the belief that all IT jobs are about coding”.
She believed that there are a wealth of other opportunities such as product management, project management, UX design, support, and training.
“It’s also important to highlight the advantages of a career in tech. Whilst tech careers are usually marketed by hard skills exclusively such as maths, computers and logic, it’s important to highlight that skills such as collaboration, communication, and customer skills are key to a variety of tech roles,” she added.
By taking steps now to ensure that more women not only enter the space, but progress in it, will see these women become a guiding light to usher in future generations. With all of the progress achieved in this area so far, the discussion needs to continue so that true gender equality can be reached.
International Women’s Day is an important event that celebrates the achievements of women and allows others to stand up with them.