It’s not a new question, and this reality may be on the brink of changing; but as it stands, there are far fewer women than men in tech roles – across the board. At Connect&GO, we have a number of women on the team; but, regrettably, none in hardware development or software development. Why are there so few women in the tech field in general? What is stopping women from applying for, and getting, jobs in this field? Should companies be making a bigger effort to draw women into these roles? And if so, how should they go about it?

June Sugiyama is a tech veteran who has been in the industry for over 20 years. In a contribution piece for TechCrunch, Sugiyama recalls having “gone to meetups and networking events that at times felt more like a frat party than a gathering of like-minded techies”[1]. She goes on to review the issue of gender imbalance in tech and engineering roles, noting that companies need to first acknowledge that there is, in fact, a problem. “While some Silicon Valley giants have had to answer for their lack of diversity, many companies still think their hiring policies are fair and work environments are just fine for women.”[2] Sugiyama describes the subtle forms of sexism that women tend to experience within the tech field – something she describes as “an undercurrent of condescension that leads to a feeling of isolation”[3].

According to a CBC article published in 2015, “A study conducted by PeerJ Preprints revealed that women’s submissions to an open source software community were accepted more often than men’s, but only when gender was not a factor. (…) When the employer knows the applicant is a woman, she is rejected more often, regardless of her coding skills.”[4]

Getting more women into the field will, in turn, create a more balanced work environment that is approachable and inviting to everyone. The scarcity of women in tech roles has become increasingly obvious and some groups and organizations have made it their mission to encourage women to consider the industry as a potential for employment and professional growth. Girls Who Code and TechGirlz are just two of the many initiatives looking to draw women into the world of tech, engineering and developing.

Merline Saintil points to one of the obvious incentives for these companies to include women in their teams in a commentary article for C|Net: “At technology companies, the people who invent technology should be as diverse as the people who use it”[5]. Saintil suggests companies approach the goal of encouraging women to join their teams the same way they would approach the design of a new product or service. “The design thinking process can be applied to your diversity efforts. Empathize by listening to your employees to uncover roadblocks. Define the problem you’re going to solve. (…) Ideate with a big enough group so you can gather diverse potential solutions”. [6]

As a leading tech company, the issue of diversity and gender balance within the field is definitely on our radar at Connect&GO. We have a feeling the tides are changing on this one, and we are likely to see more female applicants coming in for software developer and hardware developer roles in the future. We welcome all applicants with open arms, so if you or someone you know may be interested…let us know! Apply now at info@connectngo.com

[1] June Sugiyama, “Women in Tech: What’s the Real Problem?” https://techcrunch.com/2016/04/14/women-in-tech-whats-the-real-problem/  (April, 2016).

[2] June Sugiyama, “Women in Tech: What’s the Real Problem?” https://techcrunch.com/2016/04/14/women-in-tech-whats-the-real-problem/  (April, 2016).

[3] June Sugiyama, “Women in Tech: What’s the Real Problem?” https://techcrunch.com/2016/04/14/women-in-tech-whats-the-real-problem/  (April, 2016).

[4] Claire Loewen, “More women should apply for tech jobs, says co-founder of Montreal startuphttp://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/women-tech-job-startup-montreal-1.3483566 (March, 2016).

[5] Merline Saintil, “Want more women in tech at your company? Make it a focus” https://www.cnet.com/news/want-more-women-in-tech-at-your-company-focus-on-diversity-intuit/ (August, 2017)

[6] Merline Saintil, “Want more women in tech at your company? Make it a focus” https://www.cnet.com/news/want-more-women-in-tech-at-your-company-focus-on-diversity-intuit/ (August, 2017)

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