Improving gender equality in the technology workplace


Breaking down the barriers: improving gender equity and equality in tech

Marin Counter

14 March, 2023

Although women make up half of the world's population, only 19% of UK tech workers are women. Diverse perspectives and experiences are needed to create products and solutions that work for everyone. Attracting and retaining more women in tech is critical to ensure equality and diversity in the digital world and products created. 

Not having women's perspectives involved in tech development can lead to several problems: 

  • Gender Bias: Without diverse perspectives in tech, products and solutions can be biased towards men, which can result in products that don't work as well for women or may even exclude them altogether. 

    From seatbelts to artificial hearts, and even eBikes being too big for some women to ride, a lot of technology is designed with the male body in mind. For example, life-saving artificial hearts, made by the French company Carmat, are able to fit 86% of men but only 20% of women. A lot of these discrepancies come down to our physical constraints: women are often smaller than men. This gender bias in technology is not only annoying but downright exclusionary.

  • Missed Opportunities: Women make up a significant portion of the population, and by not considering their needs and experiences in tech, companies can miss out on opportunities for growth, especially as gender-diverse companies are 48% more likely to outperform their less diverse counterparts. 

  • Limited Innovation: A lack of diversity in tech can lead to limited innovation as only a narrow range of perspectives are considered. Including women's perspectives can bring new ideas, creative solutions, and lead to the development of more innovative technologies.

  • Negative Impact: Products that are not designed with women's perspectives in mind can have negative impacts on their lives, including their health, safety, and overall well-being.

  • Inequity: Not involving women's perspectives in tech development perpetuates gender inequality in the tech industry and the wider society. This can have negative consequences on women's careers and their ability to participate fully in society. 

Not having women's perspectives involved in tech developments can result in products and solutions that are not inclusive, equitable, or effective for all users. This means it's crucial that companies prioritise DEI and ensure that everyone's needs and perspectives are considered. 

The problem intensifies  

In the period of big tech layoffs we are seeing today from Twitter, Meta and others, companies need to make sure the previous work to recruit women into the tech sector isn’t being undone. With women being 65% more likely to be affected by big tech layoffs compared to their male counterparts, companies have a huge opportunity to take advantage of the current industry climate to hire more women. 

What is the best way forward?  

When prospective employees or clients see something in a company that reflects them and aligns with their values, they are more likely to approach that company for a job or partnership.

‘Belonging’ is listed as one of the top 5 things prospective employees look for when applying to a company. It's important that prospective employees feel that they could apply for any job because the employer would be like-minded to them. Belonging is so important that 42% of employees go as far as saying they wouldn’t accept a position if their employer’s values don’t align with theirs. 

Technology companies progress

Graph from Deloitte industry analysis 


How businesses can improve gender equity and equality in the workplace

Provide early support: More needs to be done in the tech industry to improve gender equality and equity, aside from talent pipeline diversification. Organisations need to commit to realistic initiatives that can be implemented as soon as possible commit to upholding those initiatives year-round. STEM programs, internship opportunities and general exposure to tech roles early on can help instil a sense of confidence in younger women before they are ready to join the tech industry – even as early as primary school.  

Offer mentorship programmes: At tech organisations, introducing mentorship programs catered specifically to women in the workplace and creating flexible policies to accommodate women can be great ways to show commitment to DEI, and encourage other companies to do the same.  

Lend a hand: The gender gap in tech is moving in the right direction with women in technical roles raising by about 1% each year from 2019 – 2022, but there is still a long way to go. It would take 25 – 30 years for women to reach 50% representation in the tech industry if things continue on the current path. Providing hands-on support to women who want to get into the technology industry is essential to make them feel more welcome. This can come in the form of internships or mentorship programmes. 

Continuing to improve gender equality and equity in the workplace 

Women are making their way into the tech world despite a lacking sense of belonging, industry-wide lack of support and discrimination, as half of the women in STEM report discrimination in the workplace at some point during their career.  

To get one's foot in the door, sometimes it is helpful to have someone crack it open. Therefore, those who are currently in tech positions, both men and women, are poised to make a great impact and contribute to the cutdown of years it will take women to reach equal representation in tech.  

At Resonance, our team recognises there is always more to be done when it comes to supporting women in the workplace, which is why we have started Resonance Rising – our latest initiative to build and support our future female leaders. Monthly sessions where all Resonance women connect and work on building confidence, sharing, and listening to career advice, and hearing insights from guest speakers and notable names in female leadership.