Logitech and Girls Who Code want to find out why so few women work in the tech industry – and how that can change.
Logitech and non-profit organization Girls Who Code co-authored the report “What (and Who) is Holding Women Back in Tech?” (What (and who) is holding women back in tech) published. In it, they discuss the question of why the proportion of women in the workforce of IT companies has not increased for years, but has even tended to decrease. The study refers to employees in the USA. From the survey data collected, the authors derive concrete steps that should contribute to an increase in the proportion of female workers in IT.
According to the study, the underrepresentation of women is particularly pronounced in the fields of engineering (15 percent women) and IT (25 percent). Although many software companies would take up the cause of the principles of the agile manifesto, a total of 70 percent of US software companies work according to the manifesto. However, its central building blocks such as teamwork, benevolent cooperation and open communication are only lived in very few companies. The implementation of these guidelines is the right way to create a more inclusive work environment for female IT professionals and thus a higher proportion of women in the industry, say the authors.
Five critical points when choosing a career
The report identifies five central aspects that are intended to have a major impact on the career path of prospective IT professionals. On the one hand, personal role models have played a major role for the women who are already working in IT. According to this, 96 percent of the young IT professionals experienced encouragement from their personal environment, and 60 percent of those surveyed were specifically motivated for this career path by teachers or their own parents.
The passion for computers is even a greater job motivation for women than for men: 35 percent of the women stated this, but only 26 percent of the male respondents. Also important for female IT professionals: A profession that makes a significant contribution to society (92 percent of women). Salary is less important to both groups; a well-paid job only serves as a motivational boost for 33 percent of women and 34 percent of men.
90 percent have experienced microaggressions
It was also important for women who have decided on an IT career to have access to women-friendly work groups during their training. Probably also because nine out of ten of them have already had to endure “microaggressions” such as unfair treatment because of their gender or sexist jokes. A full 40 percent of women said they had experienced sexual harassment at work. Therefore, a fundamental rethinking of the entire male workforce in IT companies is urgently needed, the study continues.
For the report “What (and Who) is Holding Women Back in Tech?” Logitech and Girls Who Code interviewed a total of 400 employees of IT companies, 200 women and 200 men each. All respondents have been working in software development or the IT industry for less than 10 years. Logitech offers the full report free of charge.
In Germany, too, the proportion of female employees in IT is still significantly lower than that of male colleagues.