For the past couple of years, men have seemed to dominate the tech industry. The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) lineup echoed this will have a mostly male lineup of speakers. But times are changing as more and more women are hacking the tech world and positioning themselves in prominent roles.
CES 2018 Controversy
Instead of making headlines for its products and technological feats, CES found itself in a negative spotlight shining on unequal gender representation at 2018's event.
When confronted about the mostly male lineup of speakers, CES representatives stated that a lack of diversity among employees in the tech industry is to blame. According to a study by the United States Government Accountability Office, female tech employees only made up 22 percent of the workforce.
Following the event, the lack of female representation attracted serious negative attention across social media platforms. CES has committed to getting more female speakers in the future.
A Call for Gender Equality
With calls for gender equality, especially in the wake of the #MeToo movement, CES changed its wiring. Instead of just sticking to the most notable and popular tech companies, it has reached out to find where women are most in the tech industry: small operations and startups.
2019's CES has added more women keynote speakers to its itinerary. Ones to note are U.S. Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao, and IBM CEO, Ginni Rometty. About 57 percent of total speakers are also women, with 40 percent being women of color.
Despite this change at CES, there's still a greater call for gender equality in the tech industry, which — despite uprising trends and numbers — is still a male-dominated industry.
What CES Change Means for Women in Tech
With more women coming to prominence and topping areas of the tech industry, praises and accomplishments will become more common. More successes and recognition will lessen this stigma that tech is a man's field.
We will see changes in the demographics and attitudes in the workplace — not just in the tech industry, but in other sectors, as well. More job opportunities may also open up for women, especially those in leadership and executive positions.
Companies like Google are starting to seek out women and employ their unique perspectives to help bring new and innovative ideas and perceptions to tech and its possibilities.
Also, more female-run tech companies and startups may start seeing more willing investments of venture capital, which has been found to receive less investment than those run by men.
That's why it's important to recognize and support the women and organizations who empower women in the tech industry as they continue to become factors for change and development.
Is this a win for women in tech? Yes, but there's still so much more to improve.
How to Get More Women in Tech
To support women's efforts and increase their equality in the tech industry, here are some actions we can take:
- Smash the stigma that technology is a male-dominated industry
- Encourage women and girls who have an interest in tech
- Teach girls about tech, programming and computer science at a younger age
- Close the wage and gender gap between men and women
- Inspire activism and change at the business and federal level
- Support each other, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity
The Future of Women in Tech
There's no denying that there are strong female voices in the tech industry and that more are following right behind them. Eventually, maybe there won't be a question of whether women will stay in tech. But, changes within companies and events like CES need to continue.
The future of women in tech does look bright, as long as support and encouragement follow with each little crack in the glass ceiling everyone has been chipping away at.