IWD 2023: 26.7% of Women in Tech is not nearly enough
We are living through a period of transformation where the technology industry is one of the fastest-growing economies globally, and this sector offers phenomenal opportunities. Yet, we are not seeing enough women pursuing careers in technology, let alone at board level.
Only a generation of girls studying STEM learning will spawn a generation of female technologists. The key is encouragement and support for girls in this field from the first days of primary school. We need to train now for a generation time. This does not exist in a vacuum. Initiatives must start earlier. It will come as no surprise that there is a large gender gap in the technology sector in Australia. Women only make up 36% of enrolments in university STEM courses and just 16% of enrolments in vocational STEM courses. These statistics reflect the fact that girls lack confidence in their ability in STEM subjects at school. Despite girls having a lack of confidence in these subject areas, on the whole, they do outshine boys in STEM exams, and this is something that should be celebrated and used as an initiative to explore all career avenues.
Globally, women tend to earn 16% less than men, and in Australia, it is 14.1%. On average, women make $263.90 less than men each week. Australia has begun paving the roads for its coherent efforts to bridge the gap and continue this healing. Technology leaders must commit to consistent change. The Australian Federal Government are amending the Workplace Gender Equality. All companies with over 100 employees are required to report their ‘gender pay gap’. Thus, in turn, the hope is that public reporting will divert employers’ attention to the issue and work on a solution. Despite issues being raised on averages and how the scheme would work, it is opening up a channel of conversation, and consistency is key.
Along with equal pay comes a need for a culture where men are not blamed for the problem.
They are part of the solution. Perspectives must change from both sides. Women do not need saviours to advance in the field of technology, and we must disregard this notion. What women can certainly do with is supportive allies to encourage more women into the field. Whether a man is a manager or a colleague, they can provide enormous encouragement and support in many ways. Women deserve to be celebrated and have their good performance amplified. These acts alike will help a woman expand her perception of what she can do.
It is important to note that many women juggle a career and being a primary carer to their families, which at times are taxing, and accommodations to these pressures can be difficult. Greg Eyre, VP of ANZ at SS&C Blue Prism says, “In my experience, women have an innate ability to build relational alliances and demonstrate greater empathy with their customers and peers. I’ve worked with some incredible women in my career who have proven that they can dream big, challenge assumptions, and inspire teams”.
To accommodate giving women the experience to build relationships in the technology industry and dream big, encouragement and access to technology subjects must be provided from a young primary age to give girls all options available to them. The Australian government are working hard to increase the representation of women and girls in STEM subjects. The aim of the initiative is to improve talent pools, deliver business benefits from enhanced diversity and build and sustain the Australian economy. The government are providing a girl in STEM Toolkit, which provides girls and young women with resources to help them develop their interests and existing skills while building confidence around STEM subjects, supporting teachers and families to engage with STEM careers and lastly, introducing STEM programs and activities.
These efforts are remarkable, but now it is down to the employers and educators. Employers need to review their employees’ salaries, and education boards and teachers need to be enabling girls to have equal opportunities to learn through education, whether it be access to coding courses, science, or engineering. Women are deserving of all the same opportunities and privileges as everyone else.
SS&C Blue Prism is an example of commitment to elevating the voice and highlighting the impact women are making in this ever-evolving digital world. It is important for women to be able to showcase their contribution to the future of work as much as everyone else. Women deserve to be and feel empowered. Working in an environment where women inspire women and other underrepresented groups to realise their full potential is vital.
Whilst Australia is making great tracks at working towards healing the gender pay gap, women do, unfortunately, remain a minority in the overall technology workforce and leadership. Organisations need to and are bringing in initiatives that celebrate the contributions of women as inclusion, diversity and belonging in technology. Now is the time to shake off the gender stereotypes and continue to develop even better initiatives and motivations that influence young men and women to explore STEM subjects.