Inequality in STEM and why Ada Lovelace Day is more important than ever

Gender inequality is still alive and kicking in STEM. Therefore, Ada Lovelace Day is more important than ever.

Ada Lovelace portrait.jpg
By Alfred Edward ChalonScience Museum Group, Public Domain, Link

Perhaps you weren’t even aware, but the 9 October 2018 is the day we mark the impact of women in STEM in tribute to the first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace.

Ada Lovelace Day started in 2009 as an opportunity to shine a light on the thousands of women who, like Lovelace, have achieved great things in the world of STEM.

In the past, we’ve focused on Ada Lovelace Day itself, the pioneering women in the web and computing, and the top 10 women in the history of tech. We strongly encourage you to familiarise yourself with these incredible women and their achievements in the field.

Days like this are more important than ever to inspire the next generation of technology workers whilst supporting the progression for women currently working in STEM roles. It allows us to “check-in” on the industry, listen to women and their challenges, and look for ways we can encourage equality in the workplace.

Gender inequality is still alive and kicking in STEM

Despite the advances women have made in the 20th century and the ongoing #MeToo, #WhyIDidntReport and #TimesUp movements, women working in fields of innovative and disruptive technologies continue to be targeted by gender discrimination and various forms of harassment.

They’re working twice as hard to get half as far. Their achievements still overlooked and uncredited, with some tech geniuses presenting their work under male pseudonyms. We’ve even heard of many creative and digital agencies in Brisbane not allowing their female staff to present their work to clients because they “felt a man would present better.”

As it stands, women make up less than a third of STEM university graduates and there’s only 16% working in STEM fields.  The 2018 STEM Professions Survey released in September found women were grossly under-represented at senior and management levels, leading to gaps of $17,500 regardless of whether a company has gender policies. Of the 2,000 women who participated in the survey, over half of them said that their workplace had no policies in place to promote diversity or deal with discrimination and if they did have policies they were not enforced.

While this might seem all doom and gloom it’s important to remember that it can take a long time to tilt an imbalanced system. Don’t let it deter you from doing what you’re passionate about. There will be times where you are the only woman in the room or in the entire office but know that there are many women in similar situations who are eager to encourage learning, support females in STEM and celebrate their achievements. One of those groups is Code Like a Girl, a social enterprise providing women and girls with the confidence, tools, knowledge and support to enter and flourish in the world of coding. We encourage all budding developers in Australia to attend one of their workshops or coding camps.

A typical digital marketing agency will have many women in management, development and design positions and iFactory is no exception.  Check out our career opportunities for Brisbane web designers and developers.