How digital is closing the gender gap

How digital is closing the gender gap

There’s a lot of news and opinions about women working in the digital technology industries – mainly centred on women being significantly under-represented across all levels in tech companies. March is Women’s History Month, so as well as looking back at the history of women in technology, we’re examining the role of women in digital right now. Here is a summary of just some of the current research.

Taking gender out of the equation

A study by US open source program-sharing service Github, that analysed some 1.4 million users among its huge developer community, demonstrated that contributions to the platform by female coders fared better if their gender was unknown. And, while Github doesn’t request gender information from its 12 million users, it was possible to identify the estimated 1.4 million users in the study – due to their user profile or because their user ID was connected to the Google+ social network.

When the coder’s gender was unknown to users, software coding changes suggested by women actually had higher approval rating than those from men. Which has led to a number of controversial reports suggesting that women are actually better at coding than men.

Are all digital skills treated equally?

In a 2016 report "Women Have Stronger Digital Marketing Skills But Are Underrepresented" by the Digital Marketing Institute, research found that female digital marketers have higher digital skills than the males working in the same field, outperforming them 38% to 36%. Other news coming out of that report was that while women were found to be more skilled at digital marketing, they occupied just 30.1% of the digital marketing industry compared with 69.5% of male marketers, according to the latest online marketing industry survey.

Times are changing and the gap is narrowing

The latest research from consulting firm Accenture "Getting To Equal. How Digital is Helping Close the Gender Gap at Work", shows that despite the current gap in workplace equality, it will be the increasing level of digital fluency among women that will help level the playing field for women – across all occupations, not just digital technologies. Accenture’s digital fluency model looked at the impact of digital technology across women’s entire career lifecycle – surveying almost 5,000 women and men across 31 countries. And while men did outscore women in nearly every country surveyed, the gap is narrowing and digital fluency acts as an accelerator at each stage of a person’s career.

Digital fluency was found to:

  • Help today’s workforce better manage their time
  • Increase productivity
  • Enable greater work flexibility

A key statement in the Accenture report projects that:

“If governments and businesses can double the pace at which women become digitally fluent, we could reach gender equality in the workplace by 2040 in developed countries and by 2060 in developing countries.”

March 8 was International Women’s Day. You can join the conversations about women in digital on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by following the hashtags #InternationalWomensDay and #IWD2017. We'll be there. Check out our Pinterest board on Women in Technology.

How digitally fluent is your business? To find out more about getting results from digital marketing and digital strategy, contact award-winning digital agency, iFactory on +61 7 3844 0577.

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