1984. The year women stopped coding

In 1984, the number of women studying computer science fell dramatically.

Women stopped pursuing Computer Science majors at American universities. From 1970 onward, women had composed an increasing percentage of Computer Science majors.

What happened?

Critics and theorists suggest launching the personal computer, targeted and advertised with the male gender in mind.

It’s possible that advertising strategies at the time created a public perception that tech and computing were only boys’ games and strengthened societal attitudes and stigmas that computing was not a women’s career path.

By 2017, the number of women looking for a career in computer science was only around 18% – a significant decrease from the peak of 37% in 1985.

This lack of representation of women in computer science continues today.

The underrepresentation of women is primarily due to several factors, including a lack of resources and support for women in the industry, gender-based stereotypes, and a general lack of understanding about the importance of gender diversity in the tech industry.

It will continue to persist and worsen without an intentional effort to close this gap.

Women comprise 39% of the tech industry workforce at the internship career level. Just 10.9% of those holding CEO or senior leadership roles are women.

This gender gap is even wider for women of color, with only 2.5% of leadership roles in the tech industry held by Black women. To bridge this gender gap, companies must provide equal access to equitable opportunities for women in tech.

To encourage more women to pursue a career in technology, companies must create an inclusive environment where women feel supported and empowered to succeed, providing equal access to resources and opportunities, eliminating gender-based stereotypes, and creating mentorship programs that support women in the industry.

Additionally, companies should emphasize awareness and education, including the importance of gender diversity in the tech industry, and actively promote the success of female tech leaders. By doing so, companies can create an environment where women feel encouraged and supported to pursue a career in technology.

A poll in 2020 found that 50% of women leave their jobs in the tech field by age 35, which is a 45% higher rate than men who end up leaving the industry.

Let’s work together to retain and attract more women to the tech sector and create a more diverse workforce.

Why not join our community of women passionate about bridging the gap – join the Growing Women in STEM group to learn more!