There is a need for more women to enter the technology and data industry, especially since the rise in the digital age following the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is no secret that men outnumber women in the IT and telecommunications sectors; within tech and data, the ratio is roughly five to one. We should work towards breaking these statistics and developing a more diverse workforce in the technology sector.
According to UNESCO, only 30% of female students around the globe focus on STEM-related subjects in higher education. Women make up only 28% of students enrolled in IT degrees, with men making up a staggering 72%.
The OECD surveyed 15-year-old students in the UK in 2012 and found that 41% of girls agreed with the statement that they are ‘just not good at mathematics, and only 24% of the boys agreed. The survey was then repeated in 2015, and 4.6% of the boys expected to pursue working in IT as a profession, whereas only 0.5% of the girls upheld the same expectations.
There needs to be a change in stereotypes surrounding careers in data science and technology. More girls need to be supported, and better foundations need to be laid to equip girls with the confidence to enter the data and tech field.
The pandemic brought on a new digital age; more people are utilising technology, there is a hybrid workforce movement, and a lot of data is being generated. A staggering 90% of the world’s data was generated in just two years, and it only keeps accumulating.
We are moving towards a data-driven future with big data promising monumental changes and impacts across all industries. It is so important to have women represented and taking part in this movement. There is a need to close the gender gap and avert a statistical bias. Having a more diverse workforce opens up unique perspectives and improves productivity.
Data is read, measured, analysed and organised by data scientists, and whether consciously or not, personal values, interests and life experiences can affect the data they handle. Outcomes can differ based on an individual’s understanding of the world. There is a need for different representations and genders in the data industry to avoid biased datasets.
Fleur Hicks, CEO of onefourzero, strongly believes in a need for more women in data and constantly breaks stereotypes in the industry. Fleur said, “being a female CEO in finance and technology should mean the same thing as being a male CEO in the industry. Yet sadly, it is still a differentiator. If I can represent opportunity, aspiration even, and encourage other girls, teens and women to pursue careers in these sectors, that is brilliant. Gender and perceptions of gender strength should not be a barrier to entry. Diverse contribution matters”.
onefourzero also supports Level 20 who work to inspire more women to join the Private Equity sector. Level 20 aims to increase the number of women in the industry and have set a target of 20% of senior roles to be held by women.