Top jobs in the UK’s technology firms are dominated by men, with over four times more men than women on their executive boards.
Just 18.3% of the board members on UK’s TECHmark companies are women, compared to 81.7% men, according to our analysis. Among FTSE 100 companies, 22.8% are women.
The TECHmark is a specific part of the London Stock Exchange for “specialist segments of the Main Market focusing on innovative technology”.
According to Bloomberg’s profile pages for the 60 companies, their boards have at least 533 men and 119 women on them. One fifth of the companies have no female board members at all.
This means that tech companies are performing worse than FTSE 100 companies.
A government report revealed that women’s representation on FTSE 100 boards was 22.8%. There are no male-only boards in the FTSE 100.
When announcing the report, Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
British businesses must keep up the momentum and alarm bells should be ringing in the ears of those FTSE chairs who are not yet doing their bit to improve gender diversity.
13 of the 60 TECHmark companies had no female representation on their executive boards, including Triad Biomedica, Gresham Computing and Oxford Biomedica.
Phoenix IT performed the best for female representation on its board, with a third of its bosses being women. BTG is next – with women comprising of 28.5% of its board.
Altruism can play a role in making science, technology, engineering and mathematics more accessible to women.
Anne-Marie Imafidon, assistant vice-president at Deutsche Bank and founder of Stemettes, an organization to inspire girls to pursue careers in STEM areas, points out that, besides creativity, it is key to show women they are able to solve problems by using technology.
Imafidon says women can be great problem-solvers when empowered by STEM knowledge.
To make her point, the executive mentions initiatives such as the group of four girls in Nigeria that created a machine to convert urine into electricity and the three Irish girls who developed a project to tackle the global food crisis.
Listen to the Stemettes’ founder talking about the topic:
When asked why the tech industry should be aware of the gender gap, she says that all industries would benefit from having a more diverse workforce.
“We have big problems. And no offense, while the guys are chasing billions by making apps, you have to have someone who is actually using the great technology that we have to solve the problems we have, whether they are hunger, illiteracy or infrastructure.”
Listen to her talking about gender equality here:
More from this article
If you would like to know about the examples Imafidon mentioned in her interview, here are the links:
“Meet the 11-year-old inventor of the ‘unbreakable cup”
“This woman invented a way to run 30 lab tests on only one drop of blood”
Featured image: Nigeria girls that created a machine to convert urine into electricity. Credit to Erik Hersman
The gender disparity in the tech industry starts earlier than people might think.
When looking to figures about the industry, it is not only that employers aren’t hiring women: girls are reluctant in choosing degrees in fields such as computer science and engineering.
The latest figures on women’s participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the UK show that only 13% of all STEM jobs in the UK are occupied by women, according to a study by the Wise Campaign.
“Technology is so much about innovation, about how you apply skills to make things better. And women’s creativity and mindset, which is focused on solving problems, are not being considered technology,” says Torie Chilcott, CEO and co-founder of Rockabox Studios.
Chilcott believes that to get more women to the STEM areas it is necessary to emphasize the creative aspect of these areas.
“Creativity is not being taught at schools as an skill and the STEM areas are not being presented in an appealing way.
“It is necessary to stop the vertical subjects and start focusing on problem solving,” she says.
Watch Chilcott, winner of the “Woman of the Year” at the everywoman in Technology Awards 2014, talking about gender gap in the tech industry.
Photo credit: Nasa.