Women vis-à-vis Technology: Negotiating the Challenge of Disengagement
What is the position and status of women vis-à-vis technology in general and new technology in particular? The vital but sensitive question demands closer scrutiny. Studies have found that in terms of enlistment in various courses and classes relating to cutting-edge technology or in terms of employment in high-tech firms, the percentage of women is very low. In fact, it is considered quite impressive if women come to constitute only one-fourth of the total number. If that is not enough, it is also a fact that women earn much less than their male counterparts. This scenario holds true despite a substantial increase in the enrolment of women in schools and higher academic institutions.
A persistent trend that one finds is that much fewer numbers of women opt for the STEM disciplines in their pre-professional days. This is one though not the only cause of the reflection of lesser women in a workforce involved in scientific, industrial, and technological fields. A world in which half of the human population is supposed to be women is a major cause for concern. It does not augur well when the amazing progress in technology takes place without much involvement of women. The following points expose some of the daily challenges experienced by women in technology to climb up the success ladder:
Unequal Opportunities: The mindset of society is still engaged with gender bias across the world, even in the 21st century. The tech world is known as the male-dominated profession because it is an unconscious bias that women are inferior and cannot understand technical issues or possess better technical skills than men. Thus, women in technology receive fewer work opportunities and promotions due to inequality.
Maternal Leave: The tech-driven world still considers women as child-bearing machines who cannot work due to household chores and child management. Women in the technology field lack that confidence because they know maternal leave can hamper their job opportunities and may not be encouraged to join an office after completing maternal leave. Women have to hold back from successful careers and focus on motherhood due to lack of sufficient support— mental and physical.
Discriminations at Every Stage: Receiving constant insults in a work environment creates a negative impact on the women in the technology field— being talked over, being ignored, giving more opportunities to men-counterpart, being left out of group events, and the list goes on. If any woman stands up for herself and her rights, she is considered to be bold and male employees view her negatively. Women have to continuously fight for their rights and stand up against these daily insults at every stage possible.
Women in technology need to negotiate the challenges of disengagement through the following ways:
Overturning Gender Stereotypes: Women need to stand up and speak for themselves to overturn the gender stereotypes such as women cannot be in the technology field, possess less IQ, do not have sufficient technical knowledge, being a woman getting a promotion, and many more. Joining a male-dominated workforce and focusing on strengths with confidently contributing innovative ideas for a business can be a challenging task to survive. But it is one of the major ways to overturn gender stereotypes in a workplace and change the mindset of other employees.
Breaking Psychological Thoughts: Gender discriminations and stereotypes can break down self-confidence and the ability to stand up for oneself. Women need to form focus groups and fight together for breaking psychological thoughts to gain more confidence in the workplace, coming back from maternity leave, or doing successful self-marketing to get recruited in reputed companies.
Seek Role Models: Women need to seek role models to gain confidence and feel proud of being women in the technology field. There are multiple femtech start-ups booming in the tech-driven market with specializations in female products and services as well as female CEOs and top executives in popular companies. Female entrepreneurs and executives are perfect role models to feel confident, break everyday barriers, and be ambitious to inspire future generations.
Equality, inclusion, and diversity are the three main preconditions to the Tech Revolution exclusion of women tends to have much adverse impact. The solution to this problem does not only involve the gender issue. It involves a multidimensional strategy involving a change in societal perception, reorientation of education, and promotion of women role models for generating inspiration.
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