The tech industry belongs to everyone who is motivated enough to make a difference. Women’s participation in tech is often explained in stereotypes that exclude women from playing an active role in the industry.
According to Deloitte Global, the tech industry has bridged the gender gap in its workforce. A report published in 2021 predicted that, by 2022, tech firms would have 33 percent representation of women in workforces around the world. The report also points to an upward trajectory for women assuming technical roles.
On the other hand, Sarah K. White, in a feature in CIO, the voice of IT leadership, contested these progressive claims, saying that women were still underpaid and underrepresented in the tech industry.
She also cited a 2020 report from McKinsey to highlight how diversity in the workplace leads to better performance.
This year, however, McKinsey published another report, wherein it highlighted how gender bias has been prompting women to quit the field, adding that if this trend is reversed, it can enable companies to boost their performance.
Common stereotypes deem women as unfit for technical roles, disregarding the fact that women have played a key role in the development of science and technology.
However, these stereotypes persist and are responsible for various myths that surround women’s role in tech.
The common assumption that women are not fit for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) cannot be further from the truth, as women accountants, women engineers, women scientists, and women mathematicians have been performing excellently in these roles.
So, in order to dispel the myths around women’s participation in the tech industry, we will take a look at each:
Women aren’t fit for the tech industry
The tech industry is not only restricted to programming and development; rather, it incorporates various roles and people from diverse backgrounds that are driven to learn and excel.
Women, particularly those belonging to communication and humanities can become a part of the tech industry as well.
With a variety of roles on the table, if their area of expertise aligns with the tech industry, they can secure a good job at a good company.
Women who take on technical roles also do a brilliant job at it, as their performance speaks for itself and is as good as the men, if not better, in the industry.
Given how stereotypes tend to belittle their performances alone, many women tend to work harder than their male counterparts.
Women are perfectly capable for work in the tech industry and there is no evidence to prove otherwise.
Women get hired because of quotas
Another accusation that’s thrown around is that women get hired at tech companies because of diversity quota that companies have to meet.
Accusations state that the companies put on a progressiveness and inclusivity façade in line with regulatory requirements, which is why they hire women regardless of their competence. This is not true.
Many companies have a gender-blind hiring policy, and they hire individuals on the basis of their talents and skills.
So, if a female candidate performs better on recruitment tests and interviews, it is her right to get the job.
Women have a lot more to prove to the world and, as a consequence, tend to work harder. It is only natural then that they outperform those who put minimal effort.
Women aren’t risk-takers
This is another stereotype that is often projected and compares women and men side by side when it comes to launching startups.
The assumption here is that women are risk averse, a key trait in launching a successful business.
First of all, the presupposition that success depends on risk is only half true. While risk plays a key role in business, it is not the only thing that matters.
Everyone can be risk tolerant if they have solid strategy and conviction to bank on. Gender has little to do with it; it’s more about the individual.
Women aren’t interested in tech
While it is somewhat true that less women pursue STEM degrees than men, it doesn’t suggest their aversion to technology.
While gender roles continue to play a role in this regard and keep women from pursuing a career in science and technology, it does not automatically disqualify them from having an interest in the latter.
The tech industry incorporates a lot of other fields that women do find interesting, especially women who are coming from non-technical backgrounds. Besides, with the right set of skills, you don’t really need a degree to make a mark.
These myths, as we have highlighted, have no grain of truth in them, and only serve to discourage women from pursuing a career in the STEM fields. Every individual can, regardless of their gender, pursue a career in tech, and gender roles and stereotypes that seek to restrict people from seeking out roles that are non-conforming should hold little sway over your decisions. STEM serves as driver for socio-economic progress, and people blessed with technical skills should be able to pursue avenues that make use of their skills, regardless of their gender roles.