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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.

girlswhocode2.jpg
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.

Also see

About

Lyndsey Gilpin is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She writes about the people behind some of tech's most creative innovations and in-depth features on innovation and sustainability.

44 comments
sbauhaus
sbauhaus

Out to disrupt this data: womenstartuplab.com Clearing the path for women tech startup founders in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Shaggy McRuff
Shaggy McRuff

My comment was censored. Techrepublic suppresses the truth

Corinne A Nahrwold
Corinne A Nahrwold

While VERY true, women are under-utilized and underpaid, polls and stats do not represent more than a small group polled. I say, open technology and the idea it is not only anyone's field, if they want, but the future of the world!!! The sooner more understand that creativity in science is making us smarter and longer lives, better....and, quite likely the answer to so many other problems like climate change, energy concerns (and associated wars), and unemployment!! So, start creating new synapses...challenge yourself, your children....and everyone else around you...CARE!

Mark Fudge
Mark Fudge

NOT worth a read and it is ridiculous. Most points in this hypocritical feminist garbage contradict other points. It makes me sick to see people dividing anything into gender, race, or any other useless drivel to make a point for their views. If one likes working in technology, then work in it and notice those around you are a good TEAM. This 15 point junk is making everyone victims when we should just work together. TechRepublic you are turning into the punk of the technology neighborhood. You need a wedgy for this bunk...

Ashten Williamson
Ashten Williamson

Why does a gender gap indicate inequality? Start by focusing on people's free choices. Is it possible, and more rational, that more women are choosing to not go into STEM and tech because that is not where their strengths or interests lie? I know, it's a radical thought.

jmcgachey
jmcgachey

I for one am tired of these articles.  I've been in IT since I retired from the military in 1998.  I'm sure there is some sexism somewhere - but not not in any of the places I've worked.  Nor did I find it at the university where I got my degree in network engineering.  No one is holding women back from getting into IT.  Just as no one is holding men from getting into child care or nursing.  Women and men - generally - have different interests.  Get over it.  This smacks of the "square peg into a round hole" social engineering.

jana.squires
jana.squires

It is interesting to read comments like "this again" and ones on how men feel undervalued because of such studies.

Yet it won't be this again if there was much of a change in the first place.

Was it sexist when one my male IT instructors made a diagram on the board in front of entire room (5 female to 20 males) realising that it resembled some (infantile)representation of breasts, then adding dots for nipples to really bring it home? But then be 'careful' enough to, with a smirk, warn the guys in class not to be sexist? Even in a class of all men, the answer is yes. For those who do not see that, then see you back here in 20 years.

To the issue of valuing/devaluing one sex over another: I believe that argument only has merit when we have already started on a level playing field.

Do you think female nurses are fearful that male nurses are going to steal their jobs? If anything, the ones I know at least, welcome the idea of more competent nurses on their team, period.

Gender is still used as a determining factor for professions. If it were measure solely on skill level, then why would their be such disparity? I am genuinely curious to see why people think that is.

AWolfe_II
AWolfe_II

I've been watching this same argument for 20+ years.  My takeaway is that, as a male, I am not valuable or preferred for engineering the way females are.

cbeckers
cbeckers

I expected to see an explanation of why, or justification for the assertion that, "it is important to be aware of [these 15] facts."

aberg
aberg

Change the course title from "Introduction to Symbolic Programming" to "Beauty and the Joy of Computing"!?!  My daughter is in a Physics Ph.D. program. She didn't need anyone to change the title of her Electrodynamics course to the "Beauty and Joy of Fields and Waves".  The entertainment industry is largely to blame for the undesirable image of tech workers. On the other hand, women asking for less money (and less frequent raises) rests squarely in the difference between the male and female psyche. Self confidence (or bravado) is easy when you are high on Testosterone.

elleno
elleno

That's nothing have you seen the terrible imbalance in nursing? And indeed in runway models.  There are far fewer male models.  And there are far fewer female soldiers in the front lines, and policemen - oops policepersons. Why even in terrorism females are under represented. Could this be a plot.


Here's a newsflash: generally fewer women are interested in STEM studies than men. You may not like it; it may think it is sexism; you may think they are not encouraged at school, but the facts are the facts.

There is even evidence - gasp my fingers struggle to write such blasphemy - that generally men have better visio-spatial skills that help in STEM areas (though that could be countered by the fact that women have better attention to detail).


Now move on to the next topic. We've heard this one before.

kitekrazy
kitekrazy

It's even worse when it comes women as NFL quarterbacks.


This article makes you wish there was one less woman were in tech.

sbarman
sbarman

"Figures never lie but liars figure."

"There are lies, damned lies, and statistics."


Take your choice, that is the take away from this article.


Nobody is doubting that there is a sex divide in nearly every STEM field. In fact, those who care and want to help are trying to find ways of helping. What does not help is the spout a bunch of statistics that can have other explanations or tell a different story.


Let's start with just one: "4.2% of investing VCs are women." How is this a tech industry problem? Isn't this a problem of the financial services industry? Not all VCs come from the tech field, so why aren't those other fields being held responsible for the problem?


I think Ms. Gilpin does the cause a disservice by playing with the numbers to tell a story. Comparing the number of female software developers to the number of women in business might skew the numbers, but it's like saying the US imports 20 percent of the worlds bananas but produces 57 percent of the world's oranges. What does one have to do with another?

johnpinna
johnpinna

Get a new subject please....

derrek.kim
derrek.kim

so does every other industry conduct this type of nonsense.  I am curious if the child care industry puts out big announcements about why the workforce is so female dominated.  How do we get more men to watch over our little ones.  I'm sure if you look around at different industries, you'll see male or female dominate traits all across the board.  Why can't we just recognize the women don't like IT. 

kferraro
kferraro

Seems to have riled up a lot of you. No need for sexist comments like Sanders Kaufman, Jr. Are you upset that statistics can be used to show existing or trending situation? This is a wake up call for parents and educators to encourage girls to explore technology fields from the earliest ages. You can deny it all you want but there is still gender bias in marketing ideas to our children. Maybe the Disney Princesses need to be coders.

Poli Tecs
Poli Tecs

Can we stop with this crap already! Women will get into whatever industry they want, men will, blacks will, et al!

This is nothing more than social engineering BS!

Sanders Kaufman Jr.
Sanders Kaufman Jr.

I've noticed that a pretty girl can get hired WAY quicker than a man can.

Zada Beasley
Zada Beasley

I've been applying for work and I never hear back! I am extremely qualified and once recruiter engineers. There is something wrong with the recruiting process.

AssemblerRookie
AssemblerRookie

Why the consistent female push especially in male dominated area's. There's no female push in Nursing or teaching. Legislation makes sexism illegal in the western world. Unless a lot of people are breaking the law in business (which I doubt) around the world. Figures quoted are soooo rubbery. Not only in the US of A but also Great Briton and Australia, in fact most of the western world. 

The only reason for the female push that I can see is the Government(s) is preparing for a time when males will be hard to find. In history we can look back at any conflict especially WW1 and WW2. Make up your own mind. 

Adrian Watts
Adrian Watts

Oh dear this again, to save time just review the comments made on prior similar articles and apply their corrections here.


To point out the glaring logic holes in some of the "key statistics of the state of women in tech"

5 You can't cherry pick companies (google, facebook, etc) to reinforce your view, It's all companies combined  or nothing.

6-8 Venture Capital has nothing to do with employee breakdowns wrt to gender.

9 The gender of users does not control the gender of developers, especially not if the only criteria is amount of time spent using a product designed for both sexes.

11 "Startups with women executives succeeded more often." Just an awful, empty statistic, which even admits it has no depth to understand what is really going on.

15 The hour of code is for students so is it surprising that there are roughly the same number of girls as boys doing it, after all if a school is going to participate they are going to make it mandatory for all students, otherwise that would be sex discrimination. And if you are going to quote statistics at least make them current as of today the number of students who have partaken is 38.9 million with a breakdown for lines of code of 49% girls 51% boys. http://code.org/leaderboards


That leaves you with 8 "key statistics"

jefferyp2100
jefferyp2100

Bull!


Women do not make 73 cents on the dollar, unless you game the numbers by comparing the wages of all women to the wages of all men. When the comparison is done by exact job to exact job and years of experience are factored in, the wage gap is 4 cents. Four cents, not 27 cents.




hal
hal

@jana.squires Your classroom environment sounds ridiculous. I've worked for many Fortune 1000 clients and that instructor would not have a job the next day if he pulled that crap.  

My immediate manager at my current client is a woman, and the oversight director is also a woman.  But they have knowingly made sacrifices to be where they are (putting off children, gathering the necessary experience, etc.).  It's hard for either gender to advance in their careers.  The problem is the belief that men must have some inside track that they have used to get ahead. I put in 60+ hour weeks in my work, with late nights reading tech journals and staying on top of my field.  And news - the women at the top of their game do the same thing.  The field isn't that much more level for men.  

The problem is that the "statistics" chosen in this article are cherry-picked to maintain a stereotype.  I applaud more women in any industry they want to pursue, but also resent that many women assume their careers should just be handed to them.  

digiGIRL
digiGIRL

@aberg Good for your daughter. I too, walked the roads of technology and engineering over two decades ago and I watched MANY female colleagues not stay the path. It's a bit short-sighted and (truthfully) insulting that you believe adding flowery language equates with an increased feminine viewpoint.  


You can change the types of example problems used, the types of applications to teach the same technology and appeal to a broader audience.  


Proven fact that up until middle school, girls and boys like and achieve in math, science and computers a the same rate. Around middle school, gender roles start to prevail and women are more often than not, "counseled" into career paths most suitable.  YOU ARE CORRECT, it IS a marketing problem.  The powers that be are using a LOT of marketing to try and solve it.


"Oh, little girl, you are good a science, you should be a nurse".  "Oh, young lady, you are good at math, you should be a teacher."  While young boys are expected and encouraged to conquer the word and go create the next space station. 


These initiatives are efforts to reverse that trend.  


Even when I showed STRONG interest at a young age in technology the classes and opportunities were geared towards boys (I mean they were the 99% majority).  But virtually coding and teaching examples were male focused, "we're going to teach you programming by creating a program that calculates baseball batting averages".....is an issue from jump when you're the only person in the room that doesn't understand batting averages. #Perspective #Application ---- where's the motivation for the little girl who wants to create a program but could care less about baseball?


THAT IS WHAT THESE INITIATIVES ARE MEANT TO TRY AND REMEDY


Pro me does not mean anti-you. 


And just because women (like myself) made it through the trenches before these initiatives were popular and in place, DOESN'T MEAN THERE'S NOT ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT. Definition of innovation, changing how you approach and solve a problem might just wield some jumps in output & volume. 


...Just a thought......Just a thought.

digiGIRL
digiGIRL

@elleno Common fallacy your "newsflash" there.  Proven fact that up until middle school, girls and boys like and achieve in math, science and computers a the same rate. Around middle school, gender roles start to prevail and women are more often than not, "counseled" into career paths most suitable.  It's a marketing problem.  The powers that be are using a LOT of marketing to try and solve it.


"Oh, little girl, you are good a science, you should be a nurse".  "Oh, young lady, you are good at math, you should be a teacher."  While young boys are expected and encouraged to conquer the word and go create the next space station. 


These initiatives are efforts to reverse that trend.  


Even when I showed STRONG interest at a young age in technology the classes and opportunities were geared towards boys (I mean they were the 99% majority).  But virtually coding and teaching examples were male focus, "we're going to create a program that calculates baseball batting averages".....is an issue from jump when you're the only person in the room that doesn't understand batting averages.  


THAT IS WHAT THESE INITIATIVES ARE MEANT TO TRY AND REMEDY


Pro me does not mean anti-you. Just a thought.

digiGIRL
digiGIRL

@kitekrazy Because comparing a field and industry that is based on intelligence is EXACTLY the same as an industry that is based on physical prowess and power.  Exactly. Great point!

digiGIRL
digiGIRL

@derrek.kim you don't see scores of men "wishing" they could be child care workers.  Looking at the female workers and "wishing" they had that same chance at a powerful career and earning capability.  


This initiative wouldn't  even start if there weren't scores of women, saying "why not me?"  or "where to even start?"  These initiatives aren't FORCING women into something they don't want, they are ATTEMPTING to provide access for those who want and those who are curious who previously looked at the field and felt unsupported, unwelcome or marginalized....you know like automatically assuming they should look at child care rather than computer code.


The day that (large amounts of men who want options and feel blocked) does happen, there will be lobbyists on their behalf too.  Being female does not mean take care of children, teach, garden and cook. Sorry!

sbarman
sbarman

@derrek.kim Interestingly, there has been an ever-so-often push by the nursing industry for more male nurses. While there is a bigger majority of women in nursing than there is of men in tech, nursing does not have the same type of conversations that tech does.

hwegwerth
hwegwerth

@kferraro Disagree. There is no need to require any profession to be equally split between the sexes. That's an incorrect correlation to make. I'm a girl in technology and I still played with dolls and Disney Princesses when I was a kid. There are other factors at play. 

digiGIRL
digiGIRL

Awesome.  Way to add to the conversation and prove a point.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner moderator

@AssemblerRookie Think of it from a practical perspective... the US is struggling to keep up with the number of engineers, data scientists, and technologists that it's going to need over the next decade. Because so few women going into the field (even though they are perfectly capable), it's like we have one arm tied behind our backs in a fight for global competitiveness. We need to untie the one arm. It's as simple as that. And, if you care about social justice then you get to do good and improve business at the same time. Those are the opportunities I love.

erh7771
erh7771

@jefferyp2100 1 cent is too much... even if what you say is taken at face value ... 4 cents is disgusting... we shouldn't accept someone being paid a cent less because they're a different gender... 

www.indigotea.com
www.indigotea.com

@jefferyp2100 - I'm interested in seeing where you're pulling your data from - I find your premise intriguing. Mind sharing some references?

jana.squires
jana.squires

Hal, it is great that you were afforded the ability to have late nights, and that you maintained your focus on your career.

By your own experience, you see the sacrifice made by some women. Career vs other social demands. Demands that as a woman, some still feel that women are suppose to assume and are very critical when they do not.

I resent the comment that many women expect that they careers should be handed to them. It is your prerogative to believe that, but it is misinformed as you cannot know the life choices or experiences of the "many" women you speak of.

People seem to have this impression the playing field is level but how can it possibly be if the framework was designed, controlled and centered around another group's experience?

Of course we have made progress, but there is still room for growth. There is nothing wrong in pointing that out either.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

@digiGIRL

Wait.  You mean it's not zero-sum?  :-O


.

.

.


;-)

sbarman
sbarman

@jasonhiner @AssemblerRookie The problem with keeping up is deeper than just women not being in the workforce. How about a study of all of those who are capable of going into a tech field but don't because of the push to bring in foreign workers? I have anecdotal evidence that some have either not entered the tech field or changed careers because they see their paychecks being held back by H-1B visa holders who are keeping the salaries depressed. 

Sorry... this is not xenophobia when you see a large company go to campuses on a hiring spree, pass up the opportunity to hire very good and competent American graduates to only hire the foreign-born graduates (all in the name of diversity, of course) and then scream that they cannot find enough workers and need the government to raise the number of H-1B visas.

The companies won't tell you the truth to your face but I have been in some of those meetings where the conversation is lead toward a foreign national because he is cheaper. Of course a woman foreign national is even cheaper!

The problem goes much deeper than women in the technology workforce. Unfortunately, there is a seemly undercurrent of -isms that doing that type of reporting would be so politically incorrect that most so-called "journalists" will not write about the issues.

hal
hal

@erh7771 There are many factors that can explain the 4 cent difference.  Men are typically more aggressive in salary negotiations.  In my experience in IT (working with both men and women), it's usually men who work late into the night to solve IT problems, and that is reflected at raise time.  To call this difference "disgusting" is more than a little myopic.  It's long past time that we discarded outdated notions of pay difference because of latent bias or sexism.

hal
hal

@jana.squires I'm sorry you resent my comment about how many women expect that their careers should be handed to them.  If it makes you feel better, I believe many men feel that way, too.  There's nothing "misinformed" about any of it - it's human nature to look for causes other than their own shortcomings as to why they fail to advance in the workplace.  The irrefutable fact is, men and women are different, and will never achieve parity in the workplace - because of simple biology, and because of the "life choices" you have alluded to.  IT probably is a unique opportunity for women to get closer to that parity than in other fields, but to believe that there is some sort of institution specially designed to hinder women, well, I don't buy it.

I do agree that progress has been made and growth should continue.  I liked what you said about the nursing field - and I agree that increasing and maintaining competence should be a workplace goal, not explicitly achieving parity or increasing diversity for its own sake.  The article above only blurs the issues.

miaumiaumiaumiau
miaumiaumiaumiau

@hal @erh7771 hal, I am afraid you are not aware how one gets shunned if being as "aggressive" as a guy as a woman. As a woman, you are then termed "scary", "unfeminine" and the like or even worse, and who wants to be labelled this way? Of course women play nice from a fear of being labeled like this. And yes, there is a lot bullying and sexism in IT. Almost anyone of my female friends (and myself) have experienced it, and also my male friends which do pay attention to it say the same.

spawnywhippet
spawnywhippet

@hal @erh7771 I have worked in the IT field for close to 20 years and have not yet worked a late shift or pulled an all-nighter with a woman. It has been 100% males sitting in the cold, drafty and noisy data center while the female project manager was sitting on her sofa or tucked up in bed at home, doubtless complaining about the wage gap.

Maybe it is just that women are smarter than men and don't want to get into this tough job, just like they don't want to mend oil pipelines in the desert or on oil rigs.

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