Appointment of Ruth Porat, as Chief Financial Officer at Google, may be symbolized as an empowerment of women in tech marketing jobs. But, it’s sad that this glory is dimmed down with the actual data showing the decline in the ratio of tech jobs held by women. According to the study of the American Association of University Women, which is an NGO, on a mission to promote gender equality, the percentage of women in computing jobs has significantly fallen over last 23 years. The data reveals an uncomforting fact for the fairer sex; where women constituted 35% of the total tech workforce in 1990, the share dipped to 26% in 2013, painting a skewed image of tech jobs in the favour of male professionals. The study also alarms about the falling numbers of women earning computing degrees.
The reasons of this decline can be discovered in the untold stories of inequality and discrimination, women face in their everyday professional life in tech world, be it for the promotion list or appreciation for their hard work. Although, the society applaud women for scaling heights in every sphere of work and their substantial contribution to the world economy, still millions of success stories, though scripted by women, were grabbed by the “boys club of silicon valley”. Of all such cases, only a few are raised. One such case is of Whitney Wolfe, who has worked hard to promote a mobile dating app (called Tinder) with different marketing strategies and executed them herself. But at the time of recognition, when Tinder’s profile was written, there was no mention of her hard work.
The Hurdles Tech Marketing Women Face
Gender Pay Gap
The study conducted by Glassdoor on 25 leading tech companies shows a remarkable gender pay gap. In most of these companies, men are reported to get a higher salary package in comparison to the female employees (with similar skills and experience) working in the same capacity. The difference in median annual base pay of men and women working in leading IT companies ranges from +$4,192 to -$25,104, which shows a yawning gap in salaries wherein the boys club of Silicon Valley continues to bag the lion share. Although, at entry-level the gender pay gap is not visible but in the course of rise through the ranks, the women are left behind.
Fit to Follow, not to Lead
According to the latest Grant Thornton International Business Report, the share of women in senior management roles globally is only 24 percent. Women are considered to be good for retail or background services but not for high designations making big and impacting decisions. When it comes to promotion or assigning a profile with many responsibilities, women are not included in the candidature. Using the shield of “with all other responsibilities that women have, they should be given easy work”, the women in tech marketing jobs are not given the opportunity to come up.
Heidi Roizen, co-founder and CEO of software company T/Maker, was working on a deal with Sr. Vice President of a leading PC manufacturer, in 1985. The deal failed because, Roizen did not respond to the lecherous advances by the senior executive during a meeting over dinner for some paperwork. After a long time, she has shared this experience on her blog. Although this is one case to cite but if this happened with a CEO, the probability for women in a hierarchy can be easily estimated. Tech valley is not an exception in considering women as a sex object.
The “she” candidature is kept on lower priority with a plea “not a culture fit”. This jargon lacks a clear definition but has certainly reduced the number of women hired for tech profiles. Since this is a totally self-created criterion with no standard or transparency, chauvinist decision makers conveniently play this card in gender biased hiring.
The “Society Earth” has some widely accepted prejudices about men and women, across the borders. Few of them are critical obstacles on the path of success for women in tech jobs. According to social norms, “Technology is thought to be a man’s strong point”. For instance, in May 2009, Dell unveiled a new website with the classic “make it pink” conviction. It is believed, that women, in general, have no worthy knowledge about technology and buy gadgets or laptops solely on the basis of their looks. Social norms relating to women’s intelligence in science and mathematics also curb their growth in the IT sector. It is said that women cannot take crucial decisions or handle pressures of deadlines. To add, people think that the Silicon Valley is extremely dynamic, and for a woman to cope up this speed is an unrealistic challenge.
Yes, there are many barriers obstructing women in the tech world, but there are role models too, to look up to. With reports revealing these hidden aspects, the leading tech brands are now making serious efforts to secure women power in the IT Jobs. Once such initiative is taken by Google wherein the company has conducted workshops on unconscious bias. Women just need to be more assertive and vocal and learn to brag better, to diffuse the power of boys club at Silicon Valley.