International Women’s Day 2023 has a significant theme close to our hearts this year, “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.” Its purpose is to honor and celebrate women who have championed the advancement of transformative technology and digital education, while inspiring greater participation of women and girls in tech and innovation.
In today’s world, technology and innovation play a vital role in shaping our future. However, the digital gender divide is growing, leaving women behind in terms of digital skills and access to technology. As per the UN Women’s Gender Snapshot 2022 report, women’s exclusion from the digital world has already cost low- and middle-income countries $1 trillion in the last decade and is expected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2025 without action.
The UN-led EQUALS Global Partnership’s pilot study, “Championing Female Leadership in Tech” shows 58% of female managers at tech companies identify as “transformational leaders” and their teams consider them to be “democratic and sensitive.” However, 7 out of 10 of them believe that their gender is causing them to be treated differently at work.
LiveTiles technology is built with the intention to create a culture of inclusion and engage diverse voices across organizations. We believe that inclusion and diversity in the tech world are crucial to overcoming the challenges posed by the digital gender divide. Women and other marginalized groups bring creativity and diversity to the table, resulting in innovative solutions that cater to the needs of women and promote gender equality. Furthermore, a gender-responsive approach to innovation, technology, and digital education can increase awareness and civic engagement among women and girls.
Even for their bottom line, companies benefit from a more diverse team in their fold. A McKinsey study found that companies in the top quartile of gender diversity on their executive teams are 25% more likely to achieve above-average profitability.
The top three economic costs of the tech gender divide and a lack of digitally skilled women in the tech sector include:
Lost economic opportunities
The tech gender divide is costing low- and middle-income countries $1 trillion in the last decade, and this number is expected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2025 without action, according to the UN Women’s Gender Snapshot 2022 report. The underrepresentation of women in the tech sector limits the pool of talent and ideas, leading to lost opportunities for innovation and growth.
Companies that lack diversity, including gender diversity, are at a disadvantage in today’s global economy. A lack of diversity in the tech sector limits the ability of companies to understand and serve diverse customer needs, leading to decreased competitiveness.
Unbalanced economic growth
The tech gender divide perpetuates existing patterns of gender inequality, leading to unbalanced economic growth. Women’s limited access to technology and digital education limits their ability to participate fully in the digital economy and contributes to the widening of economic and social inequalities.
Ensuring gender equality also allows products and services to be designed and developed with greater representativeness, relevance and inclusivity in mind. As a leading innovator and change agent, the tech sector constantly makes breakthroughs and leads the way in changing many lives. Imagine what we can accomplish when the industry becomes more inclusive, and the gender balance is more representative of society at large.
In a world that is largely driven by software we have the extremely imbalanced scenario where, according to a global software developer survey in 2021, most developers are males, accounting for 91.7 percent of all respondents. Female developers amounted to only five percent of all respondents, demonstrating the male-dominated reality of software jobs. It begs the question: Is this a healthy or welcome disparity when software is so intrinsic to shaping our world view and driving economic opportunity?
By embracing diversity and inclusion in the tech world, we can create innovative solutions that address development and humanitarian challenges and achieve Sustainable Development Goals. The theme of International Women’s Day 2023, “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality,” serves as a reminder that the digital revolution should be for everyone and not just for a privileged few.