On the Road to Gender Parity
Jana Rekittke from the Engineering gave us a recap of the EWIT16* conference she attended, presenting some topics and ideas. Enjoy reading the summary of her talk!
Tech workplaces tend to be often typically male dominated. Women might find a “Brogrammer” culture in which they may feel out of place, uncomfortable, or less valued. An unappealing workplace could also be a reason for women to not consider it in the first place. Yet, changes in the workplace tend to only happen when more women start working there. So the question is: How do we achieve gender parity? And do we actually want that? Does it make sense for a company? Quite probably so: a mixed workplace (think of “not only white middle aged male”) will give the company access to a more diverse pool of ideas. If everyone who makes decisions has the same background, similar ideas and opinions, how can a company/country/… evolve and adapt to ever-changing requirements?
How about women in leadership? Do we need more women in middle/upper management and on company boards? Several studies (see links below) indicate that companies with women in upper management and on boards are more successful than their male-run counterparts by achieving greater productivity, creativity, and profitability. However, companies founded by women receive less funding. Which is odd considering that a company run by a woman is more likely to succeed than a company run by a man.
Sadly, the percentage of companies that have women in upper management is around 70% (big companies, first world), and the percentage of women vs. men in management positions of these companies lies between 0 and 30%. The percentage of women in tech teams is just as low. We are therefore far from parity - and those who say that feminism or gender studies are outdated and not needed should reconsider their position. There is obviously still work to be done.
For further reading on this broad and interesting topic, please consider these: