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Five Biggest Barriers Faced by Women in Tech

March 8, 2017

Wage inequality compared to male colleagues, workplace gender bias and shortage of female role models are among the common barriers faced by women working in the technology field, according to a new survey by global technology association ISACA.

Coinciding with the International Women’s Day week, ISACA released a report titled “The Future Tech Workforce: Breaking Gender Barriers” identifying the top five barriers experienced by women in tech, as per the survey findings:

  1. Lack of mentors (48 per cent)
  2. Lack of female role models in the field (42 per cent)
  3. Gender bias in the workplace (39 per cent)
  4. Unequal growth opportunities compared to men (36 per cent)
  5. Unequal pay for the same skills (35 per cent)

“Women are vastly underrepresented in the global technology workforce. This is not only a societal concern, but also a workforce problem, given the critical shortage of skilled technology professionals faced by many enterprises,” said Jo Stewart-Rattray, CISA, CISM, CGEIT, CRISC, FACS CP, board director of ISACA and director of information security and IT assurance at BRM Holdich.

“ISACA’s survey findings reinforce that there is much work left to be done. By providing more opportunities, including career advancement programs, we can make long overdue progress in ensuring that women are more equitably represented in the technology workforce.”

When asked about opportunities for professional growth, 75 percent respondents state their employer lacks a gender leadership development program. Additionally, 8 out of 10 women report their supervisors are male and just 8 percent report never experiencing gender bias in the workplace. The survey found that women specifically want mentors, role models and strong networking opportunities.

See: Attitudes of Women in Tech: Challenges to Leadership and Growth

“In fact, it’s clear that women hunger to learn and benefit from the presence of other women in technology. But at the top of the list of barriers for women in the ISACA survey were “limited networking opportunities” and “lack of a strong professional network,” the report says.

ISACA addresses the lack of networking opportunities through its Connecting Women Leaders in Technology program, which began in 2015 and connects women in the technology industry.

Globally, pay disparity remains a challenge with 53 percent from Europe, 42 percent from North America and 80 percent from Australia/New Zealand reporting that male colleagues tend to be paid more, without a clear reason.

“As an industry, we must commit to changing these numbers and breaking down the barriers for women in technology,” said Tara Wisniewski, ISACA’s managing director of advocacy and public affairs. “It is well past time to address these issues, and ISACA has a responsibility to help solve them.”

Also read: Clearing Off Delusions about Women in Tech with Jessie Xia of ThoughtWorks’ Singapore

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