In our modern society, everything is built upon a foundation of technology and innovation. What is invaluable one year becomes a relic the next, and the cycle continuously repeats itself. In that same sense, what was once a ‘boys club’ market has now transformed into a diverse and lucrative industry for young women to flourish in.
The tech industry remains one of the largest and most stable sectors to find a career within and it only continues to grow each and every year as new advancements and improvements on old tech are created. So, how does this incredibly successful industry’s newfound acceptance of more women in varying sectors affect our world and the prospects of young girls across the nation? To answer this, let’s take a look at women in technology as of now, using STEM to empower young women moving forward, and how women are shaping the virtual and augmented reality sector below.
Women in Tech: The ‘Technology Tides’ are Changing
In 2020, it is already clear to see various women in the tech sector thriving and opening doorways for other young women to join them. However, the tech industry still has a far way to go for inclusivity’s sake, especially for African American and Hispanic women specifically.
According to Built In, “Black and Hispanic women, who majored in computer science or engineering, are less likely to be hired into a tech role than their white counterparts.” These startling statistics don’t just end there, however as, according to the same study, “48% of women in STEM jobs report discrimination in the recruitment and hiring process.”
Although these particular statistics are upsetting, a clear surge in female representation in the tech industry and business ownership can be seen and functions as the proverbial white light at the end of the discriminatory tunnel. For starters, according to Fundera, “40% of US businesses are women-owned. Women started 1,821 net new businesses every day last year. 64% of new women-owned businesses were started by women of color last year. Latina women-owned businesses grew more than 87%.”
Similarly, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), women make up 25% of computing roles in America and this number is rapidly increasing with the inclusion of STEM programs in inner-city communities and female role models in the tech industry.
This is where progress is being made and these programs are paving the bright and promising future for young women in technology each and every day. To see how STEM programs help young women carve their individual paths in the tech sector, let’s look at the data around this highly valuable program below.
Using STEM to Enrich Young Womens’ Curriculum
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs are designed to educate young individuals in these particular disciplines to prepare them for careers in one of these industries after education. For decades, these programs could only be found in upper-class neighborhoods and provided to men specifically. This meant that low-income families and women were not prepared or considered for jobs in the technology sector.
However, nowadays, STEM programs are available for countless schools and are surprisingly diverse. These programs, when funded correctly, open up doorways for young adults that provide them with careers sure to last for decades to come.
According to Poets and Quants, “The past year going back to mid-2019 saw a veritable “STEM-pede,” with 25 major programs declaring STEM designation to some degree.” As these numbers continue to grow, it becomes more apparent that a female tech surge is on the rise and that these programs will help young successful women find careers that give them financial stability, success, and allow them to make names for themselves in our modern society through technological advancement and innovation.
The Female-Forward Future of Virtual and Augmented Reality
While STEM certainly paves a path for young women in technology, perhaps, the most unique sector of the tech market that women are joining is the virtual and augmented reality sector. In the world of virtual and augmented reality specifically, women reign supreme. Between Women Who Tech, Women in Virtual Reality (WIVR), ARVR Women, and the countless leaders in this industry such as Yasmin Elayat, April Speight, and Amber Osborne, the virtual and augmented reality industry is slowly evolving into a female-forward tech sector that continues to embrace young women and empower them through innovation.
According to Venture Beat, “a 2017 survey of 70 international VR and AR companies revealed that 64.3 percent of those companies were led by women.” As this number increases, it is time for these female leaders to provide programs and internships for young women specifically in this field. Although some VR and AR programs already exist, being able to combine this industry’s basics in the STEM education programs may very well be the key to continuing to increase this number of women in tech for years to come.
All in all, technology allows young women to find a sense of personal accomplishment, transform the world around them, have financial stability, and redefine a male-centric profession for future generations. This is the key to diversity in our modern society and all it takes is a bit of motivation and education to encourage this tech industry growth across the nation. After all, outdated gender roles are truly a thing of the past and it’s time industries like the tech sector accept this and embrace the future not just in the products they create but the people that make them as well.