Why Does Bridging the Gender Gap in Tech Remain a Challenge?

June 10, 2024 thehrobserver-hrobserver-genderinequality

In an era marked by technological advancements and progressive ideals, the glaring gender gap in the tech sector remains a persistent challenge. Despite strides forward, women continue to be underrepresented, facing barriers to advancement and unequal compensation. The statistics paint a stark picture, revealing a blatant gender gap that is hindering women’s empowerment.

According to Deloitte, women comprise only 33% of the workforce in large tech companies, with a staggering men-to-women ratio of 4:1 in technical roles. These figures are not isolated incidents, but symptoms of a systemic issue ingrained within the industry.

Even in executive corridors, where leadership and decision-making power reside, women hold a mere 28% of positions, as reported by Forbes. Nonetheless, the wage gap persists, with women earning a discouraging 87% of the average men’s salary in tech, as highlighted by Accenture. 

Having spent over a decade in the tech industry, I have witnessed firsthand the efforts to address this issue; it was constantly discussed with a high degree of transparency to dissect the reasons behind it and address the possible biases and obstacles to bridge the gap and foster a more equitable tech landscape.

This resulted in a series of ongoing initiatives ranging from mentorship programs, and DE&I trainings, to setting clear recruitment goals and strategies and even extended to trying to solve the problem at source through special programs targeting young girls and encouraging them to get into a STEM career.

That said, progress remains incremental, and the journey toward true equity is far from over. Yet, amidst these efforts, I had confidence that we are on the right trajectory and that there is a collective determination to empower women and reshape the tech landscape for the better. However, that confidence dissipated into thin air when I was exposed to a different industry – one where outdated practices and blatant discrimination were the norm.

Shockingly, women were subjected to pregnancy tests during hiring processes, pay disparities were accepted as routine, and hiring decisions were blatantly biased. It was a stark reminder that gender equality is far from universal, and the fight for women’s rights is ongoing.

This sobering experience led me to a profound realisation: the struggle for equity transcends individual industries. It is a societal issue rooted in entrenched biases and systemic inequalities. While some may perceive progress based on their own experiences, the harsh reality is that many remain oblivious to the extent of the problem.

Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we broaden our focus beyond industry boundaries. We must shine a spotlight on gender disparity wherever it exists and work collectively to dismantle the barriers that hold women back. Awareness is the first step towards action, and only by confronting the issue at its source can we prevent it from perpetuating across sectors.

As we navigate the complexities of gender inequality, let us remember that our actions today shape the future for generations to come. By standing together and championing the cause of women’s empowerment, we can create a more just and equitable world for all.

Kholoud Mahrous

Strategic Consultant

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