Women in technology: reflections on the gender gap

Caroline Pickering

The gender gap in the technology industry is well known and borne out by a recent study showing that women make up just 19.1% of all those employed in IT related roles. The stunning fact is that the last two decades have seen little or no change in this unhappy statistic. Some commentators conclude that perhaps the problem isn't tech companies failing to hire women, it's women choosing not to work for them. I'm sure there's a lot of truth in that but it would be good to understand why.

As a "woman in technology" (for the last two decades) I can attest to the 'lack of progress' in closing the gender gap and I must admit, I'm not sure what needs to change to bring more women into the industry. It clearly has an image problem and I suspect that many high profile companies foster a culture that doesn't much appeal to women. I recently found the following article "Want to get more women in tech? Ditch the beanbags" which makes some interesting points regarding unintentional alienation in the "cool office" environment and a lack of flexibility in working location and hours.

DabApps has grown steadily over the last 3 years and we certainly have tried hard to recruit women into technical roles... at every possible opportunity. We've had many successes over the years, with our client work, business development and growth strategy, but unfortunately not with the gender gap within our own company. We're still working on it and won't give up!

We have a great team at DabApps who are open, friendly, communicative, dynamic and fun... we all share a love of cats and/or cake, which has to make for a good office environment. We are also pretty flexible with working from home and, with several young fathers amongst us, we are as flexible as we can be in accommodating childcare wishes and needs. As DabApps grows it does become easier to create part-time roles, which may be more attractive to women who are raising families. If we sound like a woman-friendly company (which I know we are), and you're a 'woman in tech' check out our jobs board; we may be recruiting right now!

So the gender gap within the industry is a problem yet to be resolved but here's the really interesting thing... I would say that over the last 20 years more than 50% of clients I have worked with have been women and having this balance has made it a fulfilling path to follow for me. Most of those have been (and continue to be) women who I would describe as "digital entrepreneurs". It just goes to show that women are equally inspired by technology, able to understand its capabilities, know how to make informed choices and find the right people to help them succeed. So the issues that beset 'women in technology' do not seem to deter 'woman in business' whose ideas and innovations are brought to life through technology. Women are clearly 'at home' in the tech world and demonstrate over and over again their enormous revenue-generating potential through their ideas and innovations. When the gender gap is finally closed I think we might well see a cultural shift in how and where technology fits into our lives.

We recently invited two of our clients, both highly successful business women with a passion for technical innovation, to talk about their products and how working with DabApps has been for them.

DabApps know my expectations, they know what I like... they just know me as a person.

Caroline Oldham, Founder of Biteappy

Anybody who's considering working with DabApps, I would absolutely, full-heartedly, say "just please go ahead and do it.

Hannah McIntyre, Co-Founder of FUTRLI