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Closing the Gender Gap: How the Tech Market can Benefit from Better Representation of Women

Closing the Gender Gap: How the Tech Market can Benefit from Better Representation of Women

International Women’s Day, or History of Women’s Day, celebrates the significant achievements, successes and contributions of women throughout history, with over a century of progress towards better equality, representation and opportunities for women and girls.  It is no coincidence that over a century of furthering the representation and rights of women and girls is also contiguous with over a century of significant strides in the advancements of technology and computing, from Ada Lovelace to Joy Buolamwini.

However, despite these significant strides, women in STEM fields including technology still face significant challenges, highlighted by the downward trend of representation of women in tech and cybersecurity in the 2020s. In 2024, women hold only 26.7% of all tech-related roles, with a decrease in representation by 2.1% over the last few years, despite women making up 47.7% of the workforce. The disparity in representation only widens further up the ladder, with only 10.9% of CEO and senior leadership roles being held by women.

Organizations that falter in addressing the issues that hinder gender diversity and inclusion can encumber business operations with a smaller talent pool to draw from, and lack of diversity when it comes to problem solving, critical decision making, creativity and innovation.

Diverse hiring and representation policies allow organizations to expand their talent pool and bring broader skill sets and perspectives to the table, so when there is so much to gain, why is the representation of women decreasing in tech?

There are a number of factors contributing to the underrepresentation and lack of promotion of women pursuing tech careers, but organizations can take a proactive approach to bridging the gender disparity through equal opportunity hiring policies, mentorship programs and comprehensive pay audits to address wage disparity.

Let’s take a critical look at the factors affecting diversity in tech as well as solutions that organizations are adopting to bridge the gap.

Why is the Tech Industry Seeing a Decrease in Employment of Women?

There are a number of factors currently affecting women in tech, both from employers and women leaving the industry themselves or being discouraged from joining all together. Let’s assess employment first.

One of the primary factors affecting women in tech is unconscious bias, while 83.6% of tech companies utilize unbiased hiring and training practices, gender bias still contributes to the hiring of women in technical roles such as software engineering and development, with stereotypes persisting that women are perhaps not as skilled as their male colleagues or somehow less committed. Surveys do report however, that companies that require mandatory anti-bias training do far better in this area than those that keep it optional.

However, unconscious biases continue beyond the hiring process. Typically women find it more difficult to progress their career than men, with just 5% of large company CEOs being women and only 10% of C-Suite professional roles being held by women. Even when women cross the barrier and undertake senior roles, they are still being paid less than men in their industry, with women CEOs earning around 89c for every dollar male CEOs make, and impacts black women CEOs further still, who make 38% less than white men in the same role. The lack of career progression opportunities and comparatively reduced pay is causing an increase of women walking away from tech and software development roles.

Not only this but it is also contributing a lack of representation of women within the industry, meaning that fewer women are also joining the tech workforce. Without clear representation of women working and thriving in senior roles, and especially with large tech companies being slow on the uptake of intersectional thinking reflected in their policies to include underrepresented women, including LGBTQ+, Disabled, Black, Indigenous, Asian and Latin women, women are aspiring less to careers that they cannot see themselves in.
Working to address biases within the industry is a starting point to address the disparity between men and women in the tech industry but there is much more that can be done in tandem with this.

Why the Tech Market Needs Women

Despite the downtrend of women in tech over the past five years however, the inclusion of women in tech was previously on a steady increase. Women have been making significant achievements in tech for decades and continue to contribute to the fields of AI, Quantum Computing, cyber security and software development today. It’s clear that the tech market needs women.

Without making a conscious effort to encourage women to join the tech workforce, tech companies are also depriving themselves of a richer job pool and working with top talent. The DevSecOps market is a prime example of this with only 25.1% of software engineers being women during a detrimental skill shortage, which seems like a disappointing missed opportunity. It would be an oversimplification to imply that the broadening skill gap in DevSecOps and cyber security as a whole is purely down to the persistent gender gap in STEM disciplines. However, when this skill shortage is growing and putting strain on IT teams and causing problems for organizational security, it seems remiss to not solve two problems with one stone as it were.

Companies that have clear policies in place that address the underrepresentation of women in tech and demonstrate diverse hiring policies are more likely to attract top talent from a broader range of demographics. Women bring a diverse approach to problem solving and decision making to their roles.

While fears are increasing over misinformation in AI, in particular within the realm of perpetuating harmful biases and stereotypes, ensuring that companies have a diverse employment base can help combat these problems and generate a positive company reputation, and further attract top talent. This is also equally true for organizations from the perspective of customer experience – with a greater representation of women, and in fact all demographics, customers are more likely to feel that they have experienced satisfactory customer service when they can speak to someone that they feel represents them.

Making Ends Meet: Reducing the Gender Gap in Tech

So how can the tech market do better to address the problem of the gender gap? Tech companies should look to audit their current policies in addressing these issues and reflect on where they may be lacking, and take a proactive approach to closing the gender gap.

Compulsory Diversity Training: Diversity and bias elimination training is a good start, but this should not just be limited to recruiters, as everyone in the company could benefit, with C-Suite professionals setting a positive example for the rest of the company. Training courses such as these also tend to be more successful when they are compulsory, as many who volunteer will likely already have an awareness of their personal biases.

Regular Pay Audits: Organizations should conduct regular pay audits to address gendered pay gaps. Gender pay disparity is a primary reason for women not joining or leaving the tech industry, and tends to impact Disabled, Black, Asian and Latin women disproportionately. Regular pay audits that are conducted annually at a minimum can help to ensure that women’s pay aligns with that of their male colleagues.

Outreach Programs: STEM outreach programs showcase organizational talent in underrepresented demographics in educational institutions, as well as encouraging new generations to join the workforce. Young women and girls who participate in some kind of outreach program are also more likely to find employment in that field after education.

Mentorship Programs: Mentorship programs demonstrate to women and underrepresented groups that career progression opportunities are available to them and prepare them for senior roles in the future. Women are more likely to stay in roles that they can see themselves progressing in – in addition, employing a more diverse talent pool in senior roles creates a strong company reputation which will inevitably attract more talent and further engages more diverse perspectives at senior levels, expanding decision making and problem solving skills in those positions.

Flexible Working Policies: The 2020s has seen a significant growth in flexible working and remote opportunities but this topic has remained controversial in tech, and big tech in particular, where many large enterprises have undertaken stricter office attendance policies. This can cause issues for hiring women in tech, and creating a more diverse worker base in general, as it can create commuting barriers for disabled women and women from lower economic backgrounds when many enterprises are more likely to operate from big cities. It also creates a problem for women with young families when organizing childcare arrangements during the day is not possible.

Even for organizations and businesses that would much rather prioritize office attendance over remote or hybrid working arrangements, do not have to rule it out completely. Before 2020, organizations globally were making arrangements for those who had accessibility issues for working from an office location, including arranging office attendance on a part-time basis. Ensuring that work is accessible to everyone increases the talent pool further, creates a positive image for organizations and their career opportunities and ensures that women are better represented on the whole by removing barriers, so it’s a win-win-win situation.


International Women’s Day is a celebration of the achievements of women in all areas of culture, business, the arts and science and tech verticals – but more than this, it is a golden opportunity for reflection. Representation of women in tech has made incredible strives in over a century of improving the conditions for women in employment, but organizations can go further to ensure equality within the workplace.

Effecting and enacting policies to improve equal pay, unbiased and diverse hiring practices, career progression opportunities, creating an encouraging, positive environment for current and future generations of women can all help to address the current decline in women in tech roles. But more important than this, organizations need to ensure that they are not just discussing problems and creating empty policies but following through with clear, committed and direct action.

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