Happy thoughtful young businesswoman with digital tablet in hand smiling and looking away in front of colleague at background

Women and tech: it’s time the relationship blossoms

Happy thoughtful young businesswoman with digital tablet in hand smiling and looking away in front of colleague at background

Article by Pip Wilson, co-founder and CEO of amicable

Amazon, Zoom, Netflix and Apple – they’re not only some of the world’s most well-known brands, but they’re also major players in the tech industry. An industry that, since the dot-com bubble, has picked itself up and grown – massively.

Its growth has led to a new generation of tech entrepreneurs who’ve disrupted how people live. Payal Kadakia, founder of Classpass, changed how people exercise and Whitney Wolf Herd, founder of dating app Bumble, revolutionised the dating world.

Although these examples remain inspirational, women in the tech world remain a minority. Currently, just 26 per cent of people working in tech are women – as the industry continues to grow, focus needs to shift as to how we can encourage more to enter the sector.

Why do we need more women in the sector?

With women making up over 50 per cent of the world’s population, the tech sector would only benefit from having more women in the space. An industry that mirrors the population will be one that better meets its needs. It makes little sense for men to be solving issues that are exclusive to women – it should be women creating the solutions. Furthermore, with 80 percent of all consumer purchases being made or influenced by women, if tech companies wish to succeed, having women at the heart of tech decisions will likely drive commercial success as they’ll better understand what drives women’s decisions.

Barriers women in tech face

There are fundamental challenges from an early age that impact a women’s ability to enter the tech industry. Girls, compared to boys, are less likely to be encouraged to pursue computer science at school. This lack of encouragement and education explains why young women account for just 17 per cent of A-level entrants in IT subjects. Shockingly, this leads to just three per cent of women saying a career in tech would be their first choice.

One way to reverse this trend is through mandatory GCSE computer science. This allows women to trial the subject from an early age. It makes little sense for girls to be discouraged from computer science as any female graduate currently has her pick of jobs in the industry.

While the education system plays a part, the workplace also needs to attract more women into the sector. This could be done by widening the application requirement. Rather than insisting on specific degrees, businesses could invest in more on-the-job training and development programmes, such as coding workshops to expose women to more technical roles. Companies need to acknowledge the benefits of investing in technical training for women.

Funding Gap limiting opportunity

A crucial challenge for many female-led tech entrepreneurs is securing enough funding to continue to grow. There is currently a huge funding gap which needs to be dismantled. Only 2 per cent of funding goes to female founded companies which is incredibly dispiriting for any trailblazing women entrepreneurs in tech. Though investors are still willing to back female-led businesses – amicable recently completed a funding round rising £1.2m – challenges still remain. More female founders need to feel confident that private equity and venture capitalist firms are on their side and looking to help female entrepreneurs in the space.

While these conscious changes will all encourage more women to enter the industry, one change that isn’t needed is the tech industry’s flexibility offering. Tech allows people to work from anywhere, meaning women in tech are in a better position to balance both work and home responsibilities more effectively. Companies such as Digital Mums teach new mums technical marketing skills, allowing them to build a new flexible career in the tech industry, post-baby.

The tech sector continues to build momentum and it’s time we work to ensure women are not left behind. Whether it’s making GCSE in computer science mandatory, encouraging more investment in female founded companies or even positioning tech as the sector where women can have it all, its time women saw the tech industry as a very attractive one to be a part of.