Women in Tech Day April 4th Strives to Reduce Disparities

Founded by entrepreneur, mother and diversity advocate Anna Radulovski in 2017 to encourage and support women and girls training and working within the technology industry worldwide, National Women In Tech Day is April 4th. In addition to the national holiday that raises awareness and empowers progress, Radulovski started two programs–Coding Girls and the WomenTech Network–to assist females working within the technology field in overcoming unique and distinct professional obstacles and to foster more equitable gender parity. According to the Women In Tech Day site, WITDAY is dedicated to creating professional career paths, removing roadblocks and elevating women within the tech industry. 

The initiative is timely and significant considering the well-documented and widespread disparities that exist within the technology industry. Female STEM workers are frequently less represented within senior leadership roles and work for less pay than their male counterparts. 

Boasting more than 100,000 members and 9000-plus ambassadors across almost 200 countries, the Women In Tech Day movement also receives support from such organizations as the FBI, NIST, Ford, GE and Procter & Gamble. Among the women recognized for their contributions within the technology field at previous WITDAY ceremonies are Meta senior director of production engineering Syamla Bandla (Global Technology Leadership Award), T-Mobile senior vice president Edwige Robinson (Digital Transformation Leader of the Year), NVIDIA compliance analyst Kristin YiJie Chen (IT Graduate of the Year) and Palo Alto Networks EVP and Chief People Officer Liane Hornsey (Chief People Officer of the Year). 

Despite raising awareness and increasing the recognition female tech workers receive, much work remains. The WomenTech Network reports less than half of working-age women are active within the global workforce. For every two men working there is essentially only one woman employed and women earn less than male counterparts due to prevalent gender-based discrimination. The average STEM salary for men is $85,000, whereas women only earn an average of $60,828. And women constitute only 28 percent of STEM workers in the US, while the STEM workforce constitutes only a quarter of the entire labor force. 

Other statistics tracked by the WomenTech Network confirm women remain a minority within large technology companies, including Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta and Microsoft, where female employees constitute less than half or even sometimes approximately just a third of the companies’ workforces. The percentages decrease even more when it comes to women holding leadership positions, where the figures typically drop to less than a third across the board. 

While female tech workers have grown from 8 percent in the 1970s to some 28 percent of all STEM roles in 2019 (and 35 percent of the US STEM workforce according to The World Bank), gaps persist. As workers climb corporate ladders, the gender discrepancies become more significant. According to the WomenTech Network, women are most highly represented within junior roles. The level decreases for mid-level posts and decreases again within senior management positions. 

Some 65 percent of technology recruiters admit to maintaining hiring biases. Women are also laid off more often (at a rate of 1.6 versus men). Female employees working within the tech sector are also subjected to more gender-based microaggressions within the workplace. Although remote and hybrid work environments help correct for some of these issues, such as being asked to supply refreshments for a meeting, the development doesn’t present a solution for long-term transformation. 

The WomenTech Network instead presents several recommendations for improving the conditions women experience working within the technology industry. Among other steps the organization recommends are tech companies adopt acceptable minimum standards, embrace best practices hiring a greater representation of female and minority women and establish updated, more representative professional standards. 

The organization notes that, “to expedite the progression towards gender equality in our society, it is imperative that organizations examine and embrace more emerging and leading strategies and establish new standards within their own operations.” 

One way you can celebrate National Women In Tech Day and learn more ways you and your organization can eliminate obstacles and challenges female tech workers battle is to participate in the WomenTech Network’s annual conference. The Women In Tech global symposium includes numerous virtual as well as in-person events and is being held April 23rd through April 25th this year. 

“The companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 have followed so many different paths to success,” says Inc. editor in chief James Ledbetter. “There’s no single course you can follow or investment you can take that will guarantee this kind of spectacular growth. But what they have in common is persistence and seizing opportunities.”

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