The lack of women in tech is a problem – here’s how we fix it

During Hyland’s recent CommunityLIVE Leadership event, Standish Stewart (CIO, Cuyahoga Community College) and I co-facilitated a conversation with healthcare industry leaders. The topic was women in tech.

With 700,000 open tech jobs in the U.S. and demand growing, it’s imperative that the IT industry expand its workforce and provide opportunities for all individuals. Yet women will hold only 20 percent of computing jobs by 2025, according to U.S. News.

Back in 1984, according to U.S. News, 37 percent of computer science majors were women; however, a more recent study by the publication shows that same number has dropped to just 18 percent.

What happened?

Unfortunately, well into the 21st century, authority figures still tell young girls that boys are better in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This gender stereotype leads directly to less women following STEM career paths, which means there are less of them for organizations to choose from when recruiting, which ultimately leads to in-group favoritism. It’s a negative-feedback loop.

Now that we’ve identified the problem, how do we fix it?

Inspiring the next generation

Many individuals and organizations are working towards identifying ways to bring more women into the tech world and attempting to understand what makes them successful in technology. The ideas they’re sharing about expanding opportunities for women include demonstrating how others have pursued career paths in IT, as well as promoting flexibility in work environments.

Another way leaders and organizations are tackling this is through instilling role models to highlight women in technology and creating positive stories to encourage others to follow in their footsteps. Programs that organizations have developed include internships, innovation days, as well as women in IT networking groups.

At Hyland, one way we are able to provide a sense of role models and leadership is through our Women in Tech Conference. Every six months, Hyland sponsors a conference which allows women (and men) R&D employees to collaborate and learn from one another regarding their technical careers. Since 2016, this conference has brought more than 650 individuals to Hyland.

Providing an outlet for women to engage and meet other professionals in their field is an essential component for success, as Entrepreneur magazine recently noted. A powerful way organizations can create these types of networking opportunities is through growing and developing employee resource groups (ERGs).

Fostering a culture of inclusion

Employee resource groups are employee-led groups that help foster a culture of inclusion. Through ERGs, employees are able to connect with one another and learn from each other.

At Hyland, we call our women’s ERG HylandWIN (women in networking). HylandWIN’s mission is to empower women at Hyland by providing educational resources and opportunities for development. Through HylandWIN, members can take advantage of opportunities like cultivating confidence in workshops, learning basic web design and database via expert-led courses, and hearing from executive leaders.

As technology continues to evolve, the need to encourage self-development to keep up with IT trends increases. The fast-paced and growing IT industry provides even more urgency to engage women in this field. Encouraging women early on in their education and career paths through mentorships, networking, and other outreach programs is essential to ensuring there is a diversified workforce that meets today’s IT demands.

Sound interesting? If so, please join us on Saturday, October 12, from 12 – 4 p.m. for our next Women in Tech Conference!

Susan deCathelineau

Susan deCathelineau

With more than 20 years of healthcare technology and leadership experience, Susan deCathelineau leads Hyland’s global healthcare sales and services organization. In her role as Senior Vice President, Susan establishes... read more about: Susan deCathelineau

1 Response

  1. Avatar Kyra Dale says:

    Having been a woman in tech for over 25 years now, I’m always interested in how we can encourage and inspire young people regardless of their gender. I owe a lot of my career to good mentors. One thing I do say is that one does not necessarily have to be on a STEM-track to work in and with technology. I was never good at science or math in school. My passion was teaching. To this day, I consider ‘teaching’ to be a large part of my role in technical support. Not everyone is going to be drawn to STEM, but that does not mean they don’t have a future in technology.

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