Gender adversity in Tech, How to fix it?

Ruhi Mahajan
5 min readFeb 1, 2018

With everything around us moving towards automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning and what not, Information Technology has become the coolest industry to work in, ain’t it?

Being a kid, I myself, had propensity towards Information Technology. While weighing the career options after graduation, there were a few things taken into consideration (I talk of a decade old situation, but nothing much has changed ever since).

How many of us did not consider the gender constraints while choosing a career option? None I guess. For considering a long term career it becomes really important to see the feasibility of it considering the future, considering the gender. The solution to the questions, that come into our minds while make Tech a career for a girl/women, is the key to rid off gender adversity in tech.

Nonetheless to say, gender diversity is the biggest problem in Tech. The solution to rid off gender adversity, I ‘ll make a quick mention of what is tech and what are the main attributes of a techie. Further, what’s in the role for a techie which is gender confined and how to fix it.

What is Tech and what it takes to be in-Tech/an-engineer?

The word engineer has its roots in the Latin word ingeniator, which means ingenious, to devise in the sense of construct, or craftsmanship. Several other words are related to ingeniator, including ingenuity.

Engineering is synonymous with ingenuity — skill in planning, combining, and adapting. Using science and practical ingenuity, engineers identify problems and find solutions.

So, the main attributes are: practical ingenuity, creativity, communication, business and management, agility, resilience, flexibility & lifelong learners!

With knowledge, ability, and intent come the attributes above, to make an Engineer. I’m sure the question tickling our head right now is what bars females from being into Tech if these attributes are all it takes. Well, here’s why very less females get into Tech or drop out early in their life.

  1. Cultural Stereotypes
  2. Cognitive aptitude skills
  3. Being a partner and parent

Nothing and absolutely no other thoughts than these come into the picture if a lady is capable enough to work in Tech and still doesn’t. The conventional bias we have developed, that says Women are more suitable in People skills (and lack in aptitude), if they do not dream coding/totally-into-it — will be difficult for them to create/code great things. However, there is no sure scientific reason/study behind this to support this.

The cultural stereotypes make the might fall here. Women, the fairer sex is considered (though not proven) lesser on grounds of math/cognitive skills. Makes no sense totally. Just the biological differences make a women more accountable for few woman confined processes, beholding this as a bias against women is just not fair.

Yes, #3 is indeed true that woman has to handle additional responsibilities like — turning the house to home, and give birth to a child (which really takes their career to a backseat for that while)!

The solution is categorically divided into two aspects: one being a large one and the other not too big a deal but adds on to the solution to a great extent.

1. Improve education and create more role models
2. Challenge dismissive stereotypes

As the first part is very self explanatory, we need to improve our education system to move from theoretical to more practical knowledge.

Only then we can defend the bias of Women not being good in creation but only in People skills and neuroticism etc. More hands on approach during foundational years will break those shackles.

Challenging dismissive stereotypes is really doable in Tech. Tech has a blessing called — Remote Work! How does Remote work facility help improve gender diversity?

Who doesn’t like going to the office, interacting with colleagues, learning real time. All of us do, no?

For a women, getting educated and bagging a good job, it doesn’t just end there. Making it the most liberal, taking care of the house and family, once a girl is married becomes an added responsibility, which definitely can be shared equally by the better half too. That comes another part of the problem though.

But the big task of bearing and rearing the child biologically falls under a girl’s arena. There’s no this and that about it. The huge physical pain and pressure and psychological hibernation women goes through, it’s just beyond words to explain.

If only females are allowed to work remotely when in need, half the battle is won. On second thoughts, if the allowing women to work from home sorted all the gender issues, why’s the mess? Goes without saying, the remote work option isn’t a feasibility for most of the Tech companies (yet).

Remote work is the ultimate reality now, and for the times to come.

“you can’t let your employees work from home out of fear they’ll slack off without your supervision, you’re a babysitter, not a manager. Remote work is very likely the least of your problems.”
Jason Fried, Remote: Office Not Required

The longing to equate the sex ratio in Tech is the need of the hour, for businesses to flourish and great brains to be leveraged.

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