It is almost always men who appear in the news, often as innovative technological pioneers and thought leaders.
Upon thinking about the big names and personalities who inspire the tech industry, it isn’t Susan Wojcicki, Meg Whitman, or Sheryl Sandberg who spring to mind.
More often than not, its Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Andrew Jassy. It is no secret that men dominate the industry, and the only time we really hear about female CEO’s is upon their appointment.
However, female tech positions are growing 238 per cent faster than their male counterparts, and 20 per cent of all tech startups across the world are funded by women.
Do not be mistaken. This is not a new wave of female interest in the industry. In fact, the first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace, a British mathematician became known for her pioneering work in technology long before any man in the 19th Century.
During WW2, tech jobs were filled by women. Computers were expensive, but using women to advertise them inferred that jobs involving computers were easy and can be done with a cheap labour force.
But what does the women labour force in the tech industry look like today? And how does the gender pay gap measure up to that of the past? What external influences should be considered when determining the best location that meets the needs of women in tech? Which of these locations best closes the gap between men and women in the industry?
To begin with, there are a clear set of tech positions that are currently dominated by women. Project managers, business analysts, QA testers and technical recruiters within the industry are predominantly filled occupations by women.
These workforce and working environment considerations can all be addressed by carefully measuring and manipulating the variables in the 2018 Women in Tech Index. This index measures over 20 workforce and industry variables across over 40 different countries.
For example, in the United States, the tech workforce is made up of 6049.11 employees. The percentage of which are women sits at 24 per cent. This is relatively high compared to the percentage of women in the tech workforce of Turkey, Croatia and Spain, which are 9.9 per cent, 13.19 per cent and 15.39 per cent respectively.
The average pay for women in tech in the U.S. is US$86.608, making the gender pay gap in the industry a surprisingly high 11.86 per cent. If the world hegemonic power that claims to be leading in civil rights and equality are still facing challenges in the pay gap between the genders, what can we expect from the rest of the world, in particular, the LDC’s of the developing world.
Bulgaria is the poorest member state in the EU, and yet is an oddity in this discussion as it has the highest percentage of women in ICT positions in the entire bloc, at 30.28 per cent.
One possible explanation is the country’s communist history. There were fewer separations between men and women, both had to work and this notion has spilt over into today’s workforce.
Unfortunately, the gender pay gap in the tech industry is amongst the mid-higher percentages at 19.20 per cent. The impressive statistics when it comes to the relative percentage of women in the sector, are neutralised when it comes to light that there are three men for every woman in the industry.
Still, as Europe’s growing and leading tech hub, the “bro-culture” in Bulgaria is not that common.
Further hope for tech in Eastern Europe could be found in emerging technological areas like Augmented Reality and Remote AR, and the progressive organisations, like Watty and MedicHome that such developments support.
The difference in the tech environment for women between the UK and Ireland are astonishing. By crossing the 60 minute Irish Sea, women can find themselves in a far more accommodating environment. The average pay for women in tech in the United Kingdom is US$49,201, women in Ireland are earning on average US$60,558 in the tech industry.
If salary is any indication of the value placed on the workforce, the industry in Ireland appears to be more ‘pro’ woman in tech. At first glance. Further considerations into the gender pay gap, provides grounds to infer that perhaps there is still room to improve.
The gender pay gap in the UK is 16.80 per cent. In Ireland, 17.30 per cent.
If it is true that salary indicates some level of value, this might suggest that men still dominate the preferences of tech companies, as they are still paid relentlessly higher salaries. This is not exclusive to the UK and Ireland.
In fact, every country measured in the index has, to some degree, a pay gap that favours the bank accounts of men.
The lowest account being 8.42 per cent in Turkey, which has only 0.80 per cent of their entire working population currently employed in tech.
The significance of the percentage of women in tech, per country, can be resultant of accessibility and inclusivity of the industry. Yet, many of the countries with a higher number of women in their workforce, have a generally higher gender pay gap.
These figures show that whilst more women are breaking into the industry, the pay gap persists. Relative to other industries, the gap is slim.
For example, the financial sector can carry a gender pay gap of up to 70 per cent. Despite these relative industry differences, the ageing tech industry is seeing more women entering into it, with fewer advancements.
Eastern European countries appear to have the highest number of female employees in the industry. The gender pay gap in these countries may emerge from their former Soviet Bloc status. A time where the rejection of feminism was tied to an idealised national past, where the roles of women were as wives and mothers.
Today, the rights of women in Eastern Europe are picking up momentum. This combined with its leading number of women in tech, may well lead to it overtaking the West.
The history of women in technology has been curious. Whilst it is great to see an increase in the number of women entering into tech, their efforts are proving to be less fruitful than their male counterparts.
As technology evolves at impressive speeds, it’s rather saddening to see its values seemingly stuck in the past.
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