Gender Diversity's Good, But Where Is It?

by CXOtoday News Desk    Oct 19, 2015

women

There was a time when engineering was considered a male domain. Later, the number of women entering engineering rose. However, in the past three decades, it hasn’t shown any positive results in the jobs market.

 As companies make an effort to ensure gender diversity, some researches show that women are underrepresented in technology-related jobs.

Reshma Saujani, CEO and Founder, Girls Who Code, attributes it to two factors.

“Our team believes that’s due to several factors—popular culture being one of the biggest culprits. Girls get messages all the time from the Internet, fashion magazines, social media, and other forms of media that technology is not for them,” she told McKinsey. 

 Secondly, she says, many young girls don’t understand what it means to be a computer scientist or a technologist. “How can you pick a career without exposure to people in these roles?” she asks.

While Reshma talks about the education needs of a woman technologist, there are several factors that influence the growth of women in technology sector. And, most of that depends on how women hone their skills.

Sheridan Ash writes in a PwC blog:  “It is not always the technical skills that progress your career and make you a leader in Technology – it’s skills such as building authentic relationships with people and being able to “walk in the shoes” of others that can often make the difference.”

“What I am trying to point out here is that many girls and women think they need to be heavily technical to have a career in technology, but actually to rise to the top you need to have a broad skill set around building relationships with individuals and clients, which includes project and programme management,” 

However, data shows lower number of women recruitments in the technology field. 

LinkedIn said in a blog post recently: “…. our data indicates that software engineering teams in tech have proportionally fewer women than several non-tech industries.”

Importance of gender diversity

Researches have showed that gender diversity can have a positive impact on the overall business of a company.

A McKinsey report reveals that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are 30 percent more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. Moreover, it states diversity as competitive differentiator that shifts market share toward more diverse companies over time.

Anju Sethi, Head, Learning and Development, Tesco HSC, says, “The advantages that gender-diverse teams bring to a business are significant. A same-gender team is more likely to have perspectives that are way too similar, especially on gender issues. A board that is balanced across genders is more likely to sense potential opportunities as well as problems.”