[article] Gender Bias In STEM: Women In Tech Still Facing Discrimination (repost from Forbes)

March 26, 2020

 

Gender bias in STEM-related subjects and the lack of women has already been adequately recorded and reported. It has also been estimated that closing the gender gap in the STEM field would increase the EU GDP per capita by 0.7–0.9 per cent in 2030 and by 2.2–3.0 per cent in 2050.

A number of complex factors come into play that affect the number of women who choose a career in STEM, and those who leave it soon after. Biases and discrimination against women continue to persist, and now a recent survey has shown that half of women have experienced discrimination in UK tech industry. Studio Graphene, a tech innovation company, carried out an online survey with the help of an independent market research agency, between 31st January and 5th February 2020 from more than 500 UK adults. The respondents were all full-time professionals working within the UK technology industry.

The survey showed that half of women (49%) have experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace, and a fifth (20%) have resigned in the past because of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. The majority (60%) of respondents believe that a lack of diversity is an issue in the tech sector, though women are more likely than men to hold this view (66% versus 56%), which is an interesting reflection on how men and women perceive the status quo differently, because of their own status and role both in society and in the organisation itself.

This is also a pipeline problem because there are too few women in senior positions across the UK tech industry. 77% of tech director roles in the UK are fulfilled by men. Role models and representation matters, and lack of women at senior positions perpetuates the myth that women are not as good at science and maths as men. The survey, of course, while considering the lack of diversity only focussed on binary gender divides and did not consider other marginalised groups or non-binary individuals. It is also not clear whether these women and men were self-identifying members of these communities. However, the results are revelatory.

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