Women's underrepresentation in technology starts at the educational level. Girls have been directed away from STEM jobs and activities since they were young. Even those who have expressed an interest have been discouraged from pursuing it. Even with organizations such as AnitaB.org supporting their efforts, it is still an uphill battle.
Only 3% of female students indicate they would pursue a job in technology as their first option. This is reportedly due to a lack of knowledge among many women about what working in the technology business or in a STEM-related vocation involves.
Unfortunately, even those women who do seek professions in STEM face an unwelcoming environment and lack the support of many of their male colleagues. “Many women also express how difficult it is to be heard and considered for promotions and opportunities to go up the corporate ladder.”
Minorities and women of color face even more dismal statistics. Furthermore, data reveal that even if a woman enters the industry, she will be paid much less than her male counterparts.
Aside from a lack of knowledge and support at a young age, a lack of confidence is another major barrier for many women. “Women, more than males, may have a difficult time overcoming the ‘imposter syndrome' and believing in ourselves that we are capable of accomplishing anything, even mastering technology.”
Finally, many of the women who do break into technology do not stay there. According to the UNESCO report, female computer workers in the United States who leave the business do so because they feel devalued.