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Post: International Women’s Day is a painful reminder of how dire the situation is for women in tech



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Every year is the same. Come March 8th, our social media feeds, inboxes, and news channels are flooded with stories of women who have “made it” despite adversities in all walks of life. Not much of that talk, however, seems to translate to real change in the other 364 days of the year. International Women’s Day (IWD) is an important date to celebrate, but we must remind ourselves of how desperately unequal women remain to men globally.

According to recent research by PWC, while women’s participation in labour markets is increasing, we continue to face pay disparities compared to our male colleagues – “The gender pay gap widened between 2021 and 2022 in 20 of the 33 OECD countries. This includes the UK, which experienced the largest annual fall on our Index of any OECD country, dropping four places from 13th to 17th place,” states the report “Women in Work 2024”.

Girls and women are systematically tracked away from science and math throughout their education, limiting their access, preparation, and opportunities to enter these fields as adults. Data indicates that by the time students reach college, women are significantly underrepresented in STEM majors — for instance, only around 21 per cent of engineering majors are women. Only around 19 per cent of computer and information science majors are women. A survey also indicates that women aren’t considering technology careers because they don’t have access to enough information on what working in the sector involves – and also because no one is putting it forward as an option for them.

This segregation is not only damaging to our society but also to the global economy. According to UN Women, one of the key challenges in achieving gender equality by 2030 is an alarming lack of financing, with a staggering USD 360 billion annual deficit in spending on gender equality measures.

One step forward, two steps back

Whilst promoting inclusion and gender diversity seems to be front and centre for every business worldwide on IWD, the reality is that few companies are implementing fair recruitment practices, committing to equal pay, and advocating on a global scale. I’m not saying this is true for everyone, but it infuriates me that it seems to be the case for most. While some data shows gradual improvement, others indicate we might be moving backward. 

Whilst I think IWD is important, I also believe that now, more than ever, it is also a painful reminder of how dire the situation is – and this is not even looking at women in all their intersectionalities. We need to do better at including perspectives from women of all racial, ethical, socio-economic, and cultural backgrounds. The various ways certain identities come into play in parallel create a unique set of barriers that still aren’t discussed enough.

– A message from our partner –

In a world facing multiple crises that put immense pressure on communities, achieving gender equality is more vital than ever. Ensuring women’s and girls’ rights across all aspects of life is the only way to secure prosperous and just economies and a healthy planet for future generations.  

Find your allies

Early in my career in tech, I spent a lot of time in rooms where I was the only woman or one of the very few. I often found those spaces lonely and challenging to navigate. Even now, there is a need for more women, especially from underrepresented backgrounds, in tech. If you do get into a situation where you are being discriminated against, it is difficult to “just deal with it.” This is definitely the case if you don’t have someone in your corner who really understands and can advocate for you when it happens, rather than having to fight the fight by yourself. Thankfully, I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by some amazing men, as my career progressed, who were (and are) real allies and have both tried – and are still trying – to make a difference.

My main advice for women wanting to pursue a career in tech is to try to focus on what you bring to the table and why you are a real asset to your team or business, rather than worrying about being a minority. Don’t internalise sexist attitudes directed at you and champion fellow women. We will always come out stronger in the end if we work together, rather than giving in to a “no space at the top” narrative.

The key is embracing more inclusive working practices rather than just doing the bare minimum. Industry stakeholders must accept that the only way to find viable solutions to some of the most pressing challenges society faces is to make sure as many different voices as possible are part of the conversation. This includes creating a company and industry culture that celebrates differences and makes real tangible commitments to pay and support talent of all backgrounds fairly while realising that this is also better for the bottom line.

Lora Helmin

Lora Helmin

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