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The state of women in technology: 15 data points you should know

There's a massive gender gap in the technology industry, and it's important to be aware of the facts. Here are 15 key statistics on the state of women in tech.

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During the Summer Immersion Program, Girls Who Code participants coded and presented their games to Microsoft.
Image: Girls Who Code

By 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer science jobs available in the US according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and we need to play catch-up to fill them all.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 68% of women enroll in college (compared to 63% of men), and women increasingly outnumber men in college graduation rates. Yet women still make up only a quarter of the tech industry workforce.

Here are 15 important data points you should know, including a few rays of sunlight.

1. Women made up 26% of the computing workforce in 2013

That's according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology's most recent statistics. They also broke down the numbers even more:

  • 3% of computing workforce were black women
  • 5% were Asian women
  • 2% were Hispanic women

2. Professional women earn 73 cents to the dollar vs. men

According to Narrow the Gapp, that's $333 of a weekly paycheck, which adds up to $17,316 per year. The site also says that women who work in computer and mathematical occupations make 84 cents to every dollar a man earns. That's $214 out of her weekly paycheck. Compare that to the overall national average of women earning 80 cents to every dollar a man earns.

3. In the mid-1980s, 37% of computer science majors were women; in 2012, 18%

In a study Google released last month, the company surveyed about 1,600 men and women. It showed that girls aren't really taught what computer science actually means, and are half as likely to be encouraged to study it. The words females unassociated with computer science used to describe it were "boring," "technology," and "difficult."

4. 57% of bachelor's degrees earned by women, 12% of computer science degrees

Much of this has to do with exposure to computer science before college and during college. According to Code.org, nine out of ten schools don't even offer computer science classes, and in 28 out of 50 states, computer science doesn't count towards a math or science credit.

5. Google's workforce is only 30% female

The company released this information back in May, along with its leadership stats: 79% male. And this isn't just a Google problem — the same goes for Yahoo, who employs 37% women, Facebook, which is 31%, and LinkedIn, which employs 39%.

But, Google has since made strides to tackle the issue. It announced it will invest $50 million in programs to get girls more interested in STEM education and coding with a "Made With Code" campaign. Some of the money will go to Girls Who Code and Black Girls Code, The company is also working with Girl Scouts of America and female celebrities to spark girls' interests in computer science.

6. 7% of venture capital funding goes to women-owned businesses

A recent study by researchers out of Harvard Business School showed that even with the same exact pitch, venture capitalists and the average person chose the man over the woman. That is in line with the fact that 7% of venture capital funding in the US goes to women, according to the Center for Venture Research.

7. 4.2% of investing VCs are women

That's according to a study Fortune did, in which they surveyed 542 partner-level VCs. Twenty-three of them were led by women. They even compared it to their list of Fortune 500 female CEOS, of only which 4.6% are women. But, according to other studies, the number of investing VCs is about 11% women, though senior partner numbers hover around 4% for those, too.

8. 47% of Indiegogo's campaigns are led by women

It's a statistic that Danae Ringelmann, Indiegogo's founder, touts often, and for good reason — crowdfunding is helping democratize finance, and along the way it is proving that when women do present their ideas to a more diverse crowd, they receive funding at a much higher rate than if they pitched traditional investors.

9. Women are the lead adopters of technology

Women in western countries use the internet 17% more than their male counterparts, according to 2012 research by Intel's Genevieve Bell. They use their mobile phones more, use location-based services more, are the fastest-growing and largest number of users of Skype, and use most social media sites more often. They are also the majority of owners of tech devices.

10. 56% of women in technology leave their employers midcareer

According to NCWIT, of the women who leave, 24% take a non-technical job in a different company; 22% become self-employed in a tech field, 20% take time out of the workforce, and 10% go to work with a startup company. This is double the turnover rate of men.

11. Startups with women executives succeed more often

Dow Jones released a study in 2012 that looked at venture-backed companies from 1997 to 2011. Companies that went public or were acquired were called "successful." And of those successful companies, the share of female executives was 7.1%, compared with 3.1% at unsuccessful firms. However, the study doesn't delve into the reasons why they succeeded or why they didn't, or even what management positions they were in that were the most successful.

12. 20% of software developers are women

The Department of Labor states that 56% of business jobs are women, and 36% of physician jobs are held by women. Conversely, according to one study on Silicon Valley startups, only 12% of engineers there are women.

13. Women ask for less money than men

A study out of the University of Texas showed that women ask for $7,000 less than their male counterparts in job interviews. But when they were asked to negotiate on behalf of a friend or colleague, they asked for as much as men.

14. More women than men enrolled in intro computer science at Berkeley for the first time

For the first time since the school has been keeping records, there were more women than men (106 to 104) enrolled into an introductory computer science course for the spring 2014 semester at University of California Berkeley. The class changed the name from "Introduction to Symbolic Programming" to "Beauty and the Joy of Computing," and female enrollment increased by 50%. Getting women to enroll in these courses is just taking some revamping, whether that's in the curriculum of the class or simply making it look more interesting from the description.

15. Young girls are now showing interest in computer science

At the end of 2013, Code.org launched the "Hour of Code" campaign to advocate for more computer science education. After the first week, 15 million students had written more than 500 million lines of code — and more than half of the participants were girls.

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About

Lyndsey Gilpin is a former Staff Writer for TechRepublic, covering sustainability and entrepreneurship. She's co-author of the book Follow the Geeks.

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