Why We Need More Women in Tech

Why We Need More Women in Tech

Are women entering STEM fields and helping push these industries forward? Absolutely. Do we need more women in tech? Absolutely.

But the reasons run deeper than you might think. Much deeper, in fact.

A Lesson from Healthcare

Here’s a troubling fact:

For myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), women are 50% more likely than men to receive an initial misdiagnosis. This is a very serious problem because a misdiagnosis has been shown to increase 30-day mortality by 70%.


We’ve got to ask why – why do women consistently receive inferior care for heart trouble than men?

While there are various explanations for the disparity, one explanation looms largest and presents a compelling picture of what’s going on:

Medical research has historically been done on exclusively male subjects, leading to a lack of understanding of how certain conditions, including heart disease, manifest in women. Quite literally, the failure to include women in the business of healthcare resulted in less effective medical practices, fewer lives saved.

What about IT?

It turns out what’s true of healthcare is true of IT. Historically, men have significantly outnumbered women in tech fields. Despite women being active users of technology and roughly half of tech consumers, the majority of tech products are designed and developed by men, as well as tested on and marketed to men. In fact, women made up a higher percentage of computer scientists in 1995 than they do today. The question of gender equality in IT is as alive and pressing as ever.

The exclusion of women from tech is wrong from a moral perspective. It’s also a problem for business. More women in tech would mean a more inclusive and balanced approach to development and innovation. Translation: it would create better products, and, in turn, more revenue.

And this isn’t wishy-washy speculation either; Harvard Business Review found that equal gender representation in tech and the overall workforce could bump up the global GDP by 3 – 6 percent, adding a cool 2.5 – 5 trillion dollars to the world economy.

Including women in tech isn’t just about doing the right thing, although it most certainly is about that. It’s about utilizing the intelligence, insights, and experiences of half the human population to create better, faster, and smarter products and services for everyone.

Inclusion + Promotion: You Need Both

So inclusion is a business asset, and diversity a source of strength and innovation. What do we do with this information?

For one, we hire women! While about 47% of the workforce in the U.S. is female, the latest studies show that women constitute only 26.7 percent of the workforce in computer and mathematical occupations. Not good enough.

Furthermore, 50 percent of women who take a job in tech drop it by the age of 35, more than twice the attrition rate seen in other fields. We need to continue to encourage girls and young women to pursue their interest in STEM subjects, but we also need to get better at making those who pursue STEM careers feel welcome and appreciated so that they stick around!

But what if women aren’t dropping out of tech jobs because of discrimination?

This is a fair question, but empirical data – not to mention the personal experiences of countless women in STEM fields – suggests that many women do feel subject to workplace gender discrimination. A recent survey of women in tech roles found that 72% viewed their companies as having a pervasive “bro culture.” And research from McKinsey revealed that, in tech, only 52 women get promoted to manager roles for every 100 men making the climb from entry-level positions. It’s no surprise women are more likely to pursue other avenues when the tech world isn’t nurturing their career advancement.

Make no mistake, by keeping women out of managerial positions, IT companies are only shooting themselves in the foot. The research is crystal clear on the benefits of including more women in the C-suite. Get this:

Organizations who rank in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams are 21% more likely to achieve above-average profitability than those down in the fourth quartile. You can find a bunch of similar statistics because the truth is – women leaders make companies stronger and business better.

It’s that simple, but what might not be so simple is solving gender bias in tech. That said, there are proven strategies we can all use to alleviate the problem. These include…


Role models are powerful. Become one. Seek one out. Mentorship builds bridges, passes vital wisdom across generations, and changes people’s lives.

Leadership and Implicit Bias Training

A lot of bias is unconscious, which is to say, hard to control. Making a conscious effort to treat everyone fairly is great, but rooting out those pesky unconscious biases (like whose ideas you take most seriously in a meeting) can take more – it can take training.

Diverse Hiring Practices

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. If you’re only hiring one type of person, you’re depriving your company of a lot of talent. Not a good idea.

Flexible Work Policies

Want a diverse workforce? Accommodate diverse needs, promoting work-life balance and flourishing for all.

Take Gender Discrimination Seriously

Don’t just oppose gender bias and discrimination in theory, but in practice, too. That means actively addressing and penalizing instances of gender discrimination or harassment in the workplace.

A Call to Action

The tech industry is full of wonderful people. We’re an industry committed to moving forward, getting better. The qualities that distinguish us – our open-mindedness, our commitment to change and progress, our relentless quest for innovation – are also what make us perfectly suited to lead the charge on the gender equality front.

So let’s do it. Together. All of us.

4 Cool Resources for Women in Tech and Their Allies

Ada Developers Academy

ADA is a terrific cost-free resource for women and gender expansive adults looking to break into software development.

Explore their programs.

Support the cause with a donation.

Black Girls Code

Providing girls of color with computer programming education and career development since 2011.

Visit the BGC website.

Donate to the cause.

Girls Who Code

Reaching girls around the world and working hard to close the gender gap.

Find a program and level up your coding skills.

Support/join the cause.

Ladies Get Paid

Championing the professional and financial advancement of women in the workforce.

Explore their course offerings.

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Thanks for reading – and Happy Women’s History Month!