The lack of diversity in technology is a serious issue that, fortunately, has gained a lot of attention lately. While there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure diversity and equality in STEM fields, a spotlight is shining on these problems that hopefully will spark change.
We’ve been trying to participate in the conversation but there are plenty of other voices that are well worth hearing. We’ve rounded up a handful of articles that speak to the diversity problem in our industry to provide you with some new insights. Below, you’ll find summaries to nine different articles we think are worth your time. If one piques your interest, just click the title to get the full article.
There’s plenty to be said about the need for more women in technology, but how do we actually make that happen? This article describes five focus areas, laid out by Tech London Advocates, on how to increase the number of women in technology. Those areas include sharing the business case for more women in tech and creating easier access to funding to encourage more female entrepreneurs.
A different, but just as important, plan for including more women in technology, this article suggests a wide range of changes that need to take place. For example, changing the way the media portrays women and encouraging girls to pursue an interest in technology at a younger age.
Outlined in this article are some fairly simple things to avoid when trying to recruit women to your tech company. For example, avoid masculine wording in your job descriptions. Don’t say you’re looking for an “IT guy” or that you need “5 guys for a project.” Also, showing only photos of male employees on your website or social media may be a red flag for female candidates. Try to show a more diverse work environment so that women will know they’re welcome too.
This writer collected the stories of more than 700 women to examine the reasons women are leaving the tech industry. 484 of the women cited motherhood as a factor for leaving. Many of the women explained that motherhood alone wasn’t the reason for leaving, rather an inflexible work arrangement or the feeling of an unsupportive environment. Ten percent of the women stated their company’s maternity leave policy was a significant factor. The women also cited discrimination, an uncomfortable work environment, and a lack of diversity among the factors.
This article explains how programming went from “the perfect work for women” in the 1960s to the male-dominated field it is today. Factors like stereotype threat, environment, and imposter syndrome can be significant to recruiting and keeping women in programming and filling the million available computing jobs expected by 2020.
Just let the title of this one sink in for a minute. 100% of women of color interviewed have experienced gender bias. Aside from sexist issues and discrimination, the women interviewed said they consistently faced stereotypes based on race as well. The interviewees felt pressure to behave in certain ways to avoid stereotypes like the “crazy” Latina and “angry black female.” Additionally, one third of the women surveyed experienced sexual harassment.
This article focuses primarily on how startups and founders can prioritize diversity from very beginning of a company, but the insights apply to established organizations as well. The article also provides incredible examples of companies, like Etsy, making the decision to focus on diversity and having outstanding results. When Etsy decided to boost diversity, they restructured their hiring process and increased the number of female engineers by almost 500% in one year. If you think there just aren’t enough diverse candidates out there, think again.
Getting more women to enter STEM careers is only half the battle; we also need to encourage them to stay. Some women who have left the tech industry cite a hostile work environment or discrimination as one of their reasons for leaving. With a growing number of tech jobs and a shortage of qualified workers to fill them, losing the women who do choose to enter the field will have serious consequences. These are five effective ways to encourage and keep diversity at your organization.
What can I say—we love data. The data points include some truly revealing statistics about our industry. For example, 56% of women in technology leave their jobs midcareer, which is twice the turnover rate of men. Additionally, only 20% of developers are women. Just these two stats alone say quite a lot about the state of the tech industry, but there’s plenty more where that came from.
Do you have any other insightful articles on hand? Share them in the comments below.