Women in Tech: She-TO Boost

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It’s no secret that technology is a male-dominated industry.

According to a recent study, women hold less than 20 percent of the technology jobs in the United States, despite accounting for more than half of the country’s workforce. Recently, Observer published an article outlining some statistics that show how large the gender gap in technology is. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Women only own 5 percent of startups.
  • The rate of women in tech peaked in 1991 at 36 percent and has steadily declined since then.
  • In 2016, venture capitalists invested $1.4 billion into women entrepreneurs, while male-led companies received $58.2 billion in investments.
  • Women receive lower salary offers than men which creates a wage gap, even at the same company for the same job 63 percent of the time.
  • Women only hold 11 percent of executive roles at Silicon Valley Companies.

But unbeknownst to most – it wasn’t always like this. In fact, in the early years of computing, women played a critical part in the development and functioning of the computer industry. At this time, women occupied roles as computer programmers for both the United States Military and NASA. However, women’s role in the technology industry began to lessen in the 1960s and 1970s.

In the book Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley, author Emily Chang discuses the explosion of the technology industry — predominately in Silicon Valley— in the 1960-70s, as well gender dynamics of the field.  Since its inception, Silicon Valley has long been dominated by men, causing many to nickname is “Man Jose,” “The Boys’ Club,” and “Brotopia.”

In the 1970s, software companies were desperate to hire qualified computer programmers. One software company decided to hire two psychologists to create a personality test that would that them better identify suitable programmers. According to Chang, the two psychologists decided that good programmers “don’t like people” and   “if you look for people who don’t like people, you’ll hire far more men than women.”

For decades, these test were widely influential in the technology industry, resulting in the systematic marginalization of many women. These tests also contributed to the perpetuation of the “techie” stereotype — the anti-social, predominately white, nerdy male working in tech.

Only in the last decade has the gender discrimination that runs rampant throughout many tech companies started to come to light. In recent years, many women have come forward and shared their experience with toxic work cultures, glass-ceilings, and even sexual misconduct and assault. Consequently, there has been a new wave of research that has begun to look into the issue. 

Perhaps one of the most compelling notions to come out of this research looks at the broader repercussions of male dominated tech companies. Specifically, the question that many people have begun to raise is the following: what are the implications of a biased, male dominated workplace not just on the female employees, but also on the technologies that they are creating? The answer: the creation of biased, male-focused technologies.

Although the prominence of gender discrimination in many tech companies is clear, this is not to say that there are not exceptions. In fact, many companies have began to make changes in the way that their businesses are run.

CTO Boost is a predominately female company — and we could not be more proud to recognize the incredible role that women have played in growing our company to where it is today. 

Each week, we’re thrilled to share the empowering experiences of our female employees in our She-TO Boost Blog Series. In doing so, it is our hope that we can provide our followers with a refreshing view of what it looks like to work in a predominantly female tech company.