Several of China’s biggest tech companies shared their statistics:
1. Baidu has roughly 40,000 employees and 45% of them are female. Among all employees, over 50% of them are technology R&D focused. 34% of tech-specialized employees are female. 45% of Baidu’s female employees are on mid-senior management teams (senior manager level or/and above).
2. At DiDi, 40% of employees are female while women hold 20% of senior management positions.
3. Women account for 47% of Alibaba Group’s 50,000+ employees. One-third of Alibaba Group founders are women, one-third of partner
Not bad? Well, until you see this picture:
In the photo taken during the World Internet Conference at Wuzhen in 2017 of a dinner that gathered China’s top tech leaders, we can't see any woman. In the science and technology area all over the world, the distribution is far from equal as well: you will find out that white men dominate college computer science departments.
Why do we still lack diversity?
One of the reasons for this may be the way companies try to recruit talent. Stanford researchers observed more than 75 recruiting sessions held by more than 60 companies and identified countless seemingly obvious ways the recruiters might be alienating female recruits, from sexist jokes to presentations displaying only slides of men. Others have found that male-dominated industries tend to use masculine language that doesn’t appeal to women.
The Braid Initiative—with help from the likes of Facebook, Microsoft, and Harvey Mudd College—has been making a concerted effort to change this by encouraging universities to modify their Intro to CS courses. The effects are promising: when UC-Berkeley changed the title of its introductory computer science for non-majors to “The Beauty and the Joy of Computing," female enrollees outnumbered male ones for the first time ever.
Why do we encourage gender diversity in tech?
The diversity of thoughts leads to better problem-solving. This statement is backed by decades of research. Collaborating with individuals of different genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, and race leads to increased innovation and enhanced problem-solving. Hiring for diversity means onboarding different methods and strategies of thinking, as well as the increased capability to understand the pain points of all members of your target demographic. Le Wagon currently has approximately 24.3% of women in the community, we are looking forward to more women joining this amazing family and bringing us diversity!
More women in corporate leadership roles lead to increased revenue. In a survey published in a Peterson Institute for International Economics working paper of 22,000 firms globally, researchers found that gender diversity is indeed profitable for companies. The survey shows that firms that went from no female corporate leadership to a 30 percent female share were associated with a one per cent increase in net margin and these female corporate leaders performed relatively on par to their male colleagues. So rather than being better at their jobs, increased gender diversity at the corporate level led to things like increased skill diversity in upper management and less gender discrimination throughout the firm, which led to an improved ability to recruit top talent.
An entire marketplace lacks Tech-driven innovation. There is currently a marketplace of female-oriented products that desperately lacks Tech-driven innovation. These are products that by definition only women buy, like menstruation products, ovulation tracking tools/apps, as well as products typically bought by women. This could be a direct result of having a majority of Tech businesses run by male-dominated corporate leadership since people are often less likely to start a company in a sub-industry that has no relationship with them. However, this industry presents a wealth of profitable possibilities that Tech-driven businesses run by women, or ones with more women in corporate positions, might be more apt to pursue.
Gender diversity is key in tech.
No matter how you look at it, a more gender diverse workforce is better for business, especially in Tech. Women are more than capable and qualified to excel in Tech-based fields, like engineering, coding, cybersecurity, and more. Many women already are excelling in Tech despite the odds stacked against them, and the forward-thinking businesses they work for are reaping the rewards. It’s time all companies recognize the bottom line benefits that prioritizing the hiring of qualified women in Tech provides.