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Where are the tech women?

19th April 2023

Woman sitting on the floor in front of her couch working on the laptop.
The technology industry is a man's business. For now. Read the article to find out what you can do about it.

Where are the tech women?

The technology industry is a man's business. Yet, the lack of gender diversity poses considerable dangers; not only for women, but for the entire economy. Quick help is needed - and you can read how in this article.

Ada Lovelace was the first female programmer in the 19th century. Grace Hopper is considered the mother of all programming languages. Margaret Hamilton made a name for herself as director of the software department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where the software for the Apollo space programme was developed. Three women. Three exceptional women? It seems so. Because there is a shortage of women in the STEM sector. Only about one in five jobs in a European technology company is held by a woman. And this has not just been the case since yesterday. On the contrary. The quota of women in IT was already a sobering 24 per cent in 2015, and in top management it was even only five per cent. What has happened since then?

Status quo: diversity is lacking

It has been known for years that there is a lack of gender diversity in the STEM* sector. (*STEM is an abbreviation and stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics). For example, the share of women in tech roles in the 27 EU member states is only 22 per cent. Why is that? Experts blame a plurality of reasons for this. First and foremost, there are the still old role models such as "only men can do maths" or the stubbornly persisting clichés along the lines of "computer science is boring". Surprising against the historical background that programming was even considered a typical female profession in the first half of the 20th century, in the early days of computer development. Perhaps also because it was considered an easy office job at the time. Another reason for today's lack of women is, according to scientists, the lack of early support in schools and also the lack of late support during working life. Knowledge transfer at school is based on outdated curricula that integrate almost no basic digital knowledge. There is also too little focus on getting girls excited about the variety of mathematical and scientific professions. Furthermore, in Germany learning is still equated with the time of education. After that, learning is finished. But that is wrong. Digitalisation, the rapid technological progress, demands lifelong learning. For employers, this means continuously developing employees through re-skilling and upskilling.

Dead end part-time

A large proportion of working mothers are stuck in the professional dead-end called part-time. In 2020, two-thirds of all employed mothers worked part-time. For fathers, the figure is only about 7 percent. Especially for parents of younger children, balancing work and care is a challenge. The Corona pandemic has further exacerbated the situation for women. Likewise, the pandemic made it abundantly clear that women are not only more likely than average to work part-time, but equally more likely than average to work in the low-wage sector. Women are educators or shop assistants or carers or or or. All of these are great, important and valuable jobs, but in this constellation they are all heading in one direction. Towards poverty. Women are more often at risk of poverty than men because care work is paid less than, for example, STEM professions. And there is another problem with these jobs: they cannot be done in a home office. This creates another challenge in terms of reconciling work and family life.

Out of the poverty trap

A higher share of women in tech jobs can be a solution to strengthen Europe's innovative capacity. This is the conclusion of a recent study by the consulting firm McKinsey. Because: Europe will lack around 3.9 million workers in the technology sector by 2027. In Germany alone, there will be a shortage of 780,000. It goes without saying that women in particular are needed to close this gap. But where do tech women come from?
Just as a plurality of causes is responsible for the current state of affairs, a plurality of measures is also needed to initiate a countermovement. Among other things, experts cite the dismantling of gender-specific prejudices, an expansion of childcare options and more flexible working models as suggestions. All right. All important. But these proposals do not get to the heart of the matter. The crux of the matter lies in knowledge, or more precisely in IT expertise. And that has to be learned – lifelong, with the right educational measures depending on the phase of life because only in this way can more women, including mothers, gain access to the male-dominated STEM world. A reform of the school curriculum is necessary. What is also needed is an increase in the quota of women in STEM courses through, for example, mentoring, career helpers and coaching or through innovative cooperation between schools and companies. There is a need for more orientation offers for career and study choices, as well as inspiring role models. You – or women – only want to become what you know.

However, all these approaches do not promise quick help. Only one measure works in the short term: the further training of women who are available to the labour market now and immediately. This is where our Part-Time Bootcamps come in. This offer is aimed specifically at people who work part-time, want to return to work after parental leave or are planning a lateral entry into IT.

SOS: Quick help for women

Flexible. Digital. Future-proof. Our Data Part-Time Bootcamp is aimed specifically at women who want to get back into the swing of things after parental leave, at women who wish to reshape their lives professionally with courage and a zest for action. Out of the part-time constraint. Into a fulfilling, self-determined tech role. In small groups of a maximum of 15 participants, learning takes place in an individual, protected setting. So why wait when you can start a new digital career in just 26 weeks? Let's connect, let's code, women! 🌈

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