Women in technology: scenarios and challenges

See what the numbers say about the presence of women in technology and what challenges they still face in achieving due recognition and protagonism in the innovation market.

How many names come to mind when it comes to women in technology? For a series of reasons that we will mention below, technology has prominent names generally with white male profiles.

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Alan Turing are examples of the most remembered names on technological topics. A great contradiction to history which, when recovered, shows that, in all areas of science, women stood out with extremely important contributions.

Innovations, programming and games that changed the world. Female hands and minds have always been capable and present in technological revolutions. However, a predominantly male narrative means that their participation is overshadowed.

If, since the 1800s, women like Ada Lovelace already demonstrated a great impact on science, what does this scenario look like today? Are women more present in the tech world?

See what the numbers say about the presence of women in technology and what challenges they still face in achieving due recognition and protagonism in the innovation market.

What does it mean to be a woman in technology?

Women are advancing in the technology sector, but they still do not see the salary gap in relation to men decreasing. A significant contrast, given that the female presence in higher education institutions is greater.

O Revelo lifting showed that, before the pandemic, the number of invitations to women for vacancies in technology professions grew from 12% in 2017 to 17% in 2019. The average salary difference, which was 22.4%, increased to 23.4% in same period of the research.

During the pandemic and with the increase in working from home, the technology sector grew, however, this did not reduce gender inequality rates. Data from the Special Secretariat for Social Security and Labor show that the salary difference reaches R$1,700.

Being a woman in technology means, in this scenario, knowing that there are great chances of earning less than men in the same roles. This devaluation and inequality generates an early abandonment of many of them in the sector.

O Accenture and Girls Who Code study found out that half of young women who work in technology leave the sector before the age of 35. The main reason they cited was business culture.

The report TrustRadius points out a list of obstacles, such as the difficulty for women to see themselves represented, in a ratio of 1:5 in relation to men in these companies.

Additionally, during the pandemic, 57% of women reported being in burnout, recently classified as an occupational disease by the WHO. This occurs when all the barriers already mentioned are mixed with the burden of the global crisis and the responsibilities of home and/or motherhood.

So, how can we change a reality that further excludes than includes women in technology?

Women in technology: how to include more and more?

Being a woman in technology is not an easy task and they seek to have more peace of mind when working in this sector. To do this, fight against the indicators, which until then marked the job market in technology, it is the turning point.

It is necessary for more women to be included in technology vacancies, promoted, taken to management positions and encouraged to remain in the field.

If company culture is the biggest reason why women avoid technology, stricter rules against sexism in institutions are a solution.

Furthermore, it is essential to increasingly empower women, showing that there is no argument that can justify gender inequalities and that they can have the same capabilities as men in the fields of science, technology and inovation.

It is for this purpose that initiatives such as Programming they aim to empower women by reducing gender gaps in the job market by offering programming courses.

In 2021, iFood announced its public commitments and diversity and inclusion goals. The company's objective is to have, by December 2023, half of leadership positions held by women and 40% for black employees.

History of women in technology

Remember when we talked about reasons why, for the most part, male names are those marked in common sense when it comes to technology?

The reason for this is that the History of the world and, consequently, of technology were narrated and written by men. The lack of diversity in narratives leads to an erasure of female protagonists in great creations, but you will see below.

It is curious to think how even language conditions protagonism for men, just like “man going to the moon” which, by the way, has the direct participation of a group of black women.

5 important women in technology to know

The women we will mention below were revolutionary in their fields of research. What was missing was the same recognition given to their male colleagues.

It is worth mentioning that this text only provides a small list as an example, but you can find many other researchers and scientists who made history.

Ada Lovelace:

In the mid-19th century, Augusta Ada King, a countess of Lovelace, analyzed mathematical materials. His studies resulted in the development of the world's first algorithm.

After his death, his discovery was tested and proven by scientists with more advanced computers. Today, she is known as the “mother of computing” and there is an innovation award named after her.

Carol Shaw:

Creator of software for games and consoles, she is one of those responsible for the gradual increase in difficulty in game levels. Born in the Silicon Valley region in 1955, she is considered the first woman to work with digital games.

Hedy Lamarr:

One of those responsible for the development of wireless communication technologies. If we have Wi-Fi and bluetooth, is thanks to the actions of this Austrian actress and inventor. She created a radio jamming device that would be used to evade Nazi radars.

Mary Keller:

The first woman to receive a doctorate in computer science, in 1965, at the University of Washington. Keller contributed to the creation of the BASIC programming language, used for teaching purposes and later replaced by a bolder one.

Keller wrote four books on programming and is named after the university's Computer Science Center where he worked for 20 years.

Grace Hopper:

Pioneer on several fronts. The first woman to graduate from the renowned Yale University. The first female admiral of the American Navy. One of the creators of COBOL, a programming language for commercial databases.

But it is with a funny term – which you probably know – that we highlight his main “creation”. Has your computer ever had a “bug”? The term would have been created by Hopper when she solved a processing failure by removing a moth from inside a computer. The theory was never confirmed, but the origin of the term is credited to her.

Black women in technology

The list of women who marked the History of Technology follows here, as we are going to talk about black women who stood out. In this sense, three female scientists took man to the moon.

In order for Neil Armstrong to make the “great leap for humanity”, computers needed to have zero errors. This was possible due to programming carried out by black scientists Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.

This story even inspired the 2016 film “Stars Beyond Time”.

The story of this trio makes us think about the need to inclusion of black women in technology. Because, if the figure of women is already smaller in the innovation scenario, that of black women is even more so.

iFood social impact manager Luanna Luna points out that “the lack of access for women and black people to opportunities in technology is a historic issue in Brazil. A consequence of the lag in public education.”

The solution, according to her, involves education and inclusion. To make black women recognize themselves in the highest places in the technology market. In order not to perpetuate the country's social inequalities, some initiatives and companies seek to change the game, such as iFood.

Women in technology in Brazil

In recent years, the participation of women in the IT area has grown by 60%, from 27.9 thousand women to 44.5 thousand, according to data from the General Register of Employed and Unemployed People (CAGED).

According to data from the National Employment Bank (BNE), women applying for jobs in the technology sector rose from 10,375 in 2020 to 12,716 in 2021, in a period that corresponds to the first five months of the respective years.

When we look at large technology companies founded or headquartered in Brazil, we find several women in senior positions. Kátia Ortiz, for example, is general manager of ServiceNow's Brazilian operation. Marcelle Paiva is COO at Oracle.

In the area of research, Cláudia Maria Bauzer Medeiros, PhD in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo and former president of the Brazilian Computing Society, stands out. She has a series of international recognitions for her research and for encouraging the participation of women in IT.

The importance of women in technology

The importance of women in technology, in addition to the innovations they have brought throughout history and for a more equal world, without gender inequality, is also to fulfill a market demand.

There is a large deficit of technology professionals in the market. According to the Association of Information and Communication Technology Companies (ICT), the numbers could reach lack of 70 thousand professionals per year.

A direct and effective way to fill these vacancies is to include more qualified women in the sector, as well as encouraging them not to give up early.

With more diverse and inclusive companies, Accenture estimates that there could be 3 million women working in technology in 2030 in the world.

Women entrepreneurs in technology

A woman in the room can make all the difference. Just like one at the top, one on the screen or on the banner. Women's entrepreneurial actions can place them in places where a wave of change happens.

The numbers, however, are still modest when we talk about female representation in entrepreneurship. O Female Founders Report 2021, a partnership between Distrito and Endeavor, showed that only 4.7% of startups are founded exclusively by women.

And what's worse: the startups they manage received only 0.04% of the total contributed in 2020. This is a reality far from ideal for the world of technology, where countless startups emerge day after day bringing innovations that impact our lives.

Meeting women who impact the innovation market and creating networks of female entrepreneurs is just one of the steps that could represent a key shift in the technology sector.




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