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article imageUnder-represented and under paid: Women in the tech sector

By Tim Sandle     Feb 7, 2019 in Technology
A new report, focusing on Canada's technology sector, finds that women continue to remain under-represented in technology fields and lower-paid than male counterparts. This issue not only affects Canada — similar findings are reported worldwide.
The findings relating to women in technology come from a new report by the Brookfield Institute, which focuses on innovation policy, titled "Who Are Canada’s Tech Workers?" The report considers technology workers across Canada, analyzing Canada’s technology occupations and the diversity and equity within them.
One area where equity is lacking within the tech sector is the representation of women. The report finds that men are four times more likely than women to be in a technology job.
The gap is not closing either. During the past 10 years, growth in the number of technology workers has seen a direct increase in the share of male professionals in those positions.
Not only is there a representation gap, there is additionally a stark pay gap between men and women in technology occupations, with women earning on average $7,300 less than their male counterparts. Part of the problem relates to too few women taking STEM-related subjects at university.
In order to correct such under-representation of women in technology, private industry, government bodies and non-profit organizations are stepping up. One such U.S. organization Girls Who Code has recently launched in Canada and has announced plans to expand across the country's major cities. For Digital Journal's coverage of this, see "Girls Who Code announce expansion plans."
Women in tech - U.K.
The low level of female participation in the technology sector is not confined to Canada. The U.K., another country known for its leading role in digital technology, has been examined in a separate report, the Tech Talent Charter, which produces similar findings to Brookfield.
The report finds that throughout the U.K., women make up just 19 percent of tech roles (the figure was 17 percent on the launch of the initiative back in 2017). Further details about the U.K. analysis can be found in the Digital Journal article "The push to get more women in tech is only just starting."
Women in tech - Australia
Representation of women in technology is better in other parts of the world, but remaining under one-third is not exactly a signal of gender parity. At 30 percent, Bulgaria has the highest percentage of women working in tech, followed by Australia with 28 percent and Romania at 26 percent. Of these three, only Australia has a technology sector of truly global reach.
Of further concern in Australia, there has been little change to the proportion of female employees in technology and telecommunications companies. However, the gender pay gap is trending down, according to the government's Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
More needs to be done in Australia, given that the country faces a serious labor shortage of up to 18 percent by 2030. A high proportion of this gap is expected to occur in the IT sector, and this has led to renewed calls for help to increase the number of women in technology roles.
Women in tech - U.S.
The U.S. is at a similar level to the U.K. and Canada. Here women make up less than 20 percent of U.S. tech jobs, even though they make up more than half of the U.S. workforce. There is a conundrum behind this low rate. More women are studying subjects like computer science, yet less than half are entering technology professions. Pay differences between men and women show men ahead, although the size of the technology gender pat gap in the U.S. varies considerably state-by-state.
Although rates of female participation in tech vary significantly in different countries, as does the gender pay gap, the overall picture is not great and recent data signals that more needs to be done to achieve better representation of women in technology.
More about women in technology, Women, Stem
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