Article creator image

BY Fairygodboss

Women in Tech: Facts, Figures and Percentages

Women in tech

Photo credit: Creative Commons

TAGS: Women in the workplace

How many women work in technology? According to the National Center for Women in Technology, 25% of the computing workforce was female in 2015.

NCWIT women in technology: by the numbers

This compares to approximately 17% of computer science and information sciences bachelor’s degree recipients who were women in 2014. The discrepancy lies in a surprising change in the past 20 years. In 1985, there was in fact more than double that percentage of women who received a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science (37%). In other words, in a period where the total interest of college students in computer science has grown dramatically, the percentage of women studying the field has more than halved.

As Girls Who Code points out, the gender gap in computing has grown when it comes to education in the computing field.

Girls Who Code: Gender Education Gap in Computing

Why does it matter?

According to Pew Research, where there were a total of 2.1 million jobs in 1997 in the tech industry, that number grew to 3.9 million by 2012.

Pew Research: Computing Jobs

And according to Code.org there is a shortage of graduates to fill the open computing roles in the United States.

Code.org: Computing jobs and computing degree graduates

Whichever set of numbers you look at, it’s clear that technology is one of the leading growth industries in America. We believe that women’s participation rates in a growth industry is directly related to their career opportunities, economic security and financial compensation, overall. Of course, career interests are highly individual and nobody is suggesting that all women, or any individual woman goes into a field simply because women are currently under-represented. However, education, awareness of the opportunities and role modeling are all important ways to make sure that gender stereotypes don’t prevent the next generation of women from pursuing their interests or career in the technology industry.

Moreover, even when women make it into a technology career, many are discouraged from continuing in their jobs by systematic issues. NCWIT’s 2016 report on Women in Tech, for example, cites the fact that the women are twice as likely to quit their jobs in the high tech industry.

NCWIT: Women quit rate in STEM

While it’s difficult to pinpoint a single set of causes, Fairygodboss data suggests that women in the technology industry face more issues of gender inequality compared to the overall population of women in the workforce (and even to women who simply work in the technology industry, but who work in non-technical roles such as sales, PR, marketing, and finance, for example). Technical women were slightly more likely to report that men and women were not treated equally and fairly at their employer (54% vs. 45% overall).

NCWIT, likewise found that workplace experiences were one of the leading factors contributing from women’s attrition from the technology field. In particular, they report that women are “pushed into execution roles” as opposed to “creator roles” with some major gender differences in the job roles that men and women end up holding.

NCWIT: Technical roles for women vs. men

Demographically, differences also appear to arise between women of color and their Caucasian counterparts, as well as by age group. More women report feeling “stalled” in their careers in the 24-34 age-cohort, as well as African American women. These figures are based on a study conducted by the Center for Talent Innovation and published in 2014.

NCWIT: Women in Tech Who Report Feeling StuckNCWIT: Women's Science Engineering Tech Stall Rates by Ethnicity

As a percentage of women in computing occupations, Hispanic and Black and African American women are the most under-represented groups, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Percentage of Computing Positions Held By Women: By Ethnicity

There is a bright side to these rather dismal set of facts and figures. If you’re a woman working in technology and you are looking for support, it seems there are many support networks and groups you can join to find like-minded fellow women. While many of these networks may be outside your company, you can find resources and support from organizations such as:

There are also numerous online social media communities where one can connect with other women in technology.

Finally, if you find you cannot change or advocate for change in a way that makes you feel comfortable at your own company, there are many organizations and employers who prioritize diversity and inclusion, and who are looking for technology talent who would likely welcome your technical contributions. Some of the best rated technology companies by women can be found in our Top Rated Technology Companies for Women list, for example.

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. 
Join us by reviewing your employer!

Related Community Discussions

  • Hello everyone. I'm trying to attend more tech conferences in 2017 but my budget just doesn't allow for a lot of it. Every event seems to cost a lot and I'd love to attend more. Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas for what conferences to attend that are more cost-effective as well as how to get discounted tickets anywhere?

  • I believe that the common day to day issues of sexism (too small to call people out on) wear women down more than the big problems. I've also seen men (who were previously oblivious) become great advocates for women when these situations were pointed out to them.

    I am working on a virtual reality program, which share some of the common problems women run across, training the mind to recognize the problem. I'm looking for some of the common issues people run across. Personal experiences, research you've read, anything would be greatly appreciated! Either reply, or email: info@socialQVR.com

    VR has a huge potential for remapping neural training, and I want to make sure I'm drawing from the wealth of communal knowledge, not just my own experience.

  • How do I get a job at Apple? Every time I apply to a position I feel like my resume disappears in the "cloud".

  • I work in a small company with 43 employees. I supervise a team of 3, our section is responsible for conducting testing on components used in consumer products. A few months ago it came to my attention that one of them was falsifying test reports. I notified my boss and a meeting was scheduled with the employee, rep of her choice, my boss, HR person and myself.

    At the meeting the employee opted to bring a friend from another department. I attempted to provide a summary of the matter when asked by my boss. I say attempt because I was continuously interrupted by the "friend" and the employee with comments that I was jealous of the employee, stupid and that they were tired/bored listening to my attempts to present the summary. My boss and HR stayed silent during all of this.

    After the meeting my boss and HR person said they would deliberate. A week later I was informed that no action would be taken against the employee. I have multiple issues now.

    I feel like the work I am doing has no meaning if someone can get away with falsifying reports (I know it is not rocket science but I don't consider ensuring consumers get quality products to be nothing). The employee and her friend giggle in my presence and make reference to her "getting away with it", I really want nothing to do with her anymore but am still her supervisor. My boss tells me that he does not have confidence in the employee's capabilities and would like me to "get her up to scratch", this is the same employee that stated how stupid I was. So while I had to train her for the position and evaluate her performance I am too stupid at some points (disciplinary role) but am suddenly competent when it comes to getting her up to scratch. I feel used by my boss and get really upset when this employee asks me for help (if I am so stupid, she should not need my help).

    Finally I feel very disillusioned by my boss and the HR rep who at no time attempted to bring order to the proceedings. When I voiced this disappointment to my boss he advised me that he was "sorry" but that these sort of things get nasty. He said if such an incident arose in the future he would do better but in the mean time I need to get over it.

    I now supervise an employee I don't trust and a boss for whom I no longer have any respect. My boss says he wants more comraderie in my section (but I just don't see how I can have a positive relationship with this employee).

    Any advice.? Am I overacting like my boss says? Do I just need to buck up and get over this? How do I deal with these issues with the employee and my boss?

  • Hi, I am starting a new job shortly as Head of Marketing for a tech company. The logical part of my brain knows that they believe I can do the job or they wouldn't have made the offer but another part of me is gripped by imposter syndrome and feel out of my depth. Do any of you have some advice on how to overcome imposter syndrome?

Find Out

What are women saying about your company?

Click Here

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Share with Friends
  • Share Anonymously

Women in Tech: Facts, Figures and Percentages

Women in Tech: Facts, Figures and Percentages

How many women work in technology? According to the National Center for Women in Technology , 25% of the computing workforce was female in 2015. ...

How many women work in technology? According to the National Center for Women in Technology, 25% of the computing workforce was female in 2015.

NCWIT women in technology: by the numbers

This compares to approximately 17% of computer science and information sciences bachelor’s degree recipients who were women in 2014. The discrepancy lies in a surprising change in the past 20 years. In 1985, there was in fact more than double that percentage of women who received a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science (37%). In other words, in a period where the total interest of college students in computer science has grown dramatically, the percentage of women studying the field has more than halved.

As Girls Who Code points out, the gender gap in computing has grown when it comes to education in the computing field.

Girls Who Code: Gender Education Gap in Computing

Why does it matter?

According to Pew Research, where there were a total of 2.1 million jobs in 1997 in the tech industry, that number grew to 3.9 million by 2012.

Pew Research: Computing Jobs

And according to Code.org there is a shortage of graduates to fill the open computing roles in the United States.

Code.org: Computing jobs and computing degree graduates

Whichever set of numbers you look at, it’s clear that technology is one of the leading growth industries in America. We believe that women’s participation rates in a growth industry is directly related to their career opportunities, economic security and financial compensation, overall. Of course, career interests are highly individual and nobody is suggesting that all women, or any individual woman goes into a field simply because women are currently under-represented. However, education, awareness of the opportunities and role modeling are all important ways to make sure that gender stereotypes don’t prevent the next generation of women from pursuing their interests or career in the technology industry.

Moreover, even when women make it into a technology career, many are discouraged from continuing in their jobs by systematic issues. NCWIT’s 2016 report on Women in Tech, for example, cites the fact that the women are twice as likely to quit their jobs in the high tech industry.

NCWIT: Women quit rate in STEM

While it’s difficult to pinpoint a single set of causes, Fairygodboss data suggests that women in the technology industry face more issues of gender inequality compared to the overall population of women in the workforce (and even to women who simply work in the technology industry, but who work in non-technical roles such as sales, PR, marketing, and finance, for example). Technical women were slightly more likely to report that men and women were not treated equally and fairly at their employer (54% vs. 45% overall).

NCWIT, likewise found that workplace experiences were one of the leading factors contributing from women’s attrition from the technology field. In particular, they report that women are “pushed into execution roles” as opposed to “creator roles” with some major gender differences in the job roles that men and women end up holding.

NCWIT: Technical roles for women vs. men

Demographically, differences also appear to arise between women of color and their Caucasian counterparts, as well as by age group. More women report feeling “stalled” in their careers in the 24-34 age-cohort, as well as African American women. These figures are based on a study conducted by the Center for Talent Innovation and published in 2014.

NCWIT: Women in Tech Who Report Feeling StuckNCWIT: Women's Science Engineering Tech Stall Rates by Ethnicity

As a percentage of women in computing occupations, Hispanic and Black and African American women are the most under-represented groups, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Percentage of Computing Positions Held By Women: By Ethnicity

There is a bright side to these rather dismal set of facts and figures. If you’re a woman working in technology and you are looking for support, it seems there are many support networks and groups you can join to find like-minded fellow women. While many of these networks may be outside your company, you can find resources and support from organizations such as:

There are also numerous online social media communities where one can connect with other women in technology.

Finally, if you find you cannot change or advocate for change in a way that makes you feel comfortable at your own company, there are many organizations and employers who prioritize diversity and inclusion, and who are looking for technology talent who would likely welcome your technical contributions. Some of the best rated technology companies by women can be found in our Top Rated Technology Companies for Women list, for example.

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. 
Join us by reviewing your employer!

thumbnail 1 summary