How the Role of Women in the Tech Industry Has Evolved

Women working with their computers

Looking at the panoramic for women in tech, recent data still shows women in technology holding a minority of tech jobs with the figure recently sitting at a mere 25%. Furthermore, that minority of women are still receiving an average salary that’s lower than the ones their male coworkers are making.  

There’s a clear gender parity in tech when it comes to hiring and recruitment.  

The picture becomes even bleaker the higher we go up the chain of command, with only 28% of leadership roles being held by women in the tech industry.  

On the flip side to above, 8 in 10 tech companies are now offering formal gender inclusion programs. Organizations across the globe, such as Girls in Tech, a nonprofit aimed at empowering women in technology with whom Nearsure has collaborated, are working across many angles to level gender parity in the field.  

We can say the same for other Latin American-based organizations we’ve supported, such as Medias Chicas and the Jump Conference we sponsored, as well as the FemIT conference we also sponsored that was organized by Las de Sistemas.  

With the above night and day imagery, we’re going over how the role of women in tech has evolved recently to envision how it’s likely to change in the future. The bright side to this is we have a more positive-looking future ahead.  

‍How the Role of Women in Tech Has Evolved in the 21st Century

The truth is women have always been at the forefront of technology and computer development. It’s a widespread misconception to consider women’s contributions to this field to be a recent phenomenon. Female contributions in the tech field might be largely unknown out of women being systemically unrecognized and unheralded by historians for decades, but we’ve been around forever.  

History’s first computer programmer was a woman.

Ada Lovelace, a great English mathematician widely considered to be the first computer programmer in history, pioneered theAnalytical Engine,” for example. She took a rudimentary machine, which was created by her mentor, and managed to process letters, symbols, and numbers with it in the form of code. Many other prominent women in tech have built upon Ada’s contributions.  

During the mid-1940s, when supercomputers were in their infancy, women made up the bulk of coders in major government programs. The Manhattan Project, Bletchley Park codebreaking operations, and the US Army’s ballistic missile program called ENIAC are but a few additional examples. 

Women in the above group and their peers were pioneers in the world of technology during the following decades. Yet, as I mentioned above already, most women involved in these projects were already paid poorly while given the title of secretaries as their male counterparts were recognized as analysts, for example.

Despite continued setbacks and a prolonged lack of recognition for their efforts, women have continued to make major contributions to the field of computer science as much as in many other industries and areas.

‍Why education for women who code is making a vital difference

One of the main means through which we’re closing the gender gap in IT is by focusing on recruiting women into undergraduate computer science programs. 

UC Berkeley is an excellent example of the above. This university aggressively marketed a program towards women. Eventually, they’ve managed to positively impact the gender ratio in their program so that the majority of incoming computer science majors were women as of a point in their history.

Another important development for women in tech is the percentage of women in technical roles in the industry. At the turn of the century, women made up less than 15% of the IT industry workforce, an incredibly small number if we consider that the majority of coders in the pre-digital age were women. But this is fortunately changing.  

Tech industry giants in the FAANG and Tier 1 camps have heavily invested in women who code. They’ve promoted women in computer science degree programs, emphasizing hiring female graduates and offering mentoring programs and other resources for female employees to thrive in this male-dominated culture.

If the industry remains committed to hiring and promoting women, it is reasonable to assume that this gap may be eliminated within the next 25 years.

‍An increased number of women in IT leadership

Today, the number of women in leadership positions has been increasing as the focus on gender inclusion in the tech industry is starting to peak. Researchers recently found that the number of women in tech leadership positions has steadily increased over the past decade, too. A predominant prediction is that women will make up 1 in 4 tech leaders by the end of 2022. 

While these changes are inspiring in themselves, this changing reality is important for two reasons:  

  1. Women in leadership positions can influence policy and remove barriers for other women
  2. Women in leadership positions are role models and mentors for their younger peers.

Key inclusion policies such as talent acquisition, training, promotion from within, as well as offering mentorship programs for excluded groups are being taken more seriously at an executive level nowadays. 

Women in tech leadership roles serve as role models. Peers and other women in the industry or even outside it can see through these models that the glass ceiling can be, and has been, broken by women.  

These leaders can also serve as mentors to novice and mid-level engineers, ensuring they can talk about their unique challenges and frustrations in a supportive environment to guide their peers through promotion processes. 

This is why Nearsure is so keen in making visible the work of prominent women executives like myself, that of our Head of Account Management Natalia Capuzzi, our Head of Human Resource Marketing Micaela Ruiz and, of course, of our leading CEO, Giuliana Corbo.  

Having a prominent stakeholder in a business’ C-suite furthermore increases that organization’s odds of implementing an effective diversity and inclusion program that effectively addresses any concerns about women and other diversity groups being left on the sidelines. 

‍We’re Making a Difference for Women in Technology

According to Deloitte, women should make up 33% of the IT workforce by the end of 2022—an 8% increase over three years. Other research also shows the ratio of women to men in tech becoming more equitable every year. This is happening a as a result of a combination of factors, which include increasing numbers of female computer science graduates, a focus on diversity and inclusion in Tier 1 companies, and the widespread pushback against the established culture that has dominated tech for so long. 

Diversity and inclusion programs in Big Tech have been crucial to closing the gender gap and increasing the share of women in tech.

In spite of the multiple efforts needed to level women’s participation in this industry and other fields, the future’s looking brighter for women in technology. We’re slowly impacting an otherwise traditionally male-dominated culture by bringing women’s perspective into the boardrooms.

Like I stated above, we can also expect to see more and more women entering the computer science field as more graduate from programs per year. The future for women in tech is fortunately looking increasingly bright.