Female students fighting back against sexism in the tech industry
Female students are determined to overcome prejudices in the tech industry. Source: Shutterstock.

Female students are working hard to hack the tech industry’s glass ceiling.

With women making up only 23 percent of the technology sector at Apple and 16 percent of the technology team at Facebook, according to The Guardian, it seems coding competency is no match for bias in the industry.

On top of this, women who have cracked the industry often report facing sexist attitudes within the workplace.

Susan J Fowler, previously employed by app-based ride-sharing company Uber, reported continuous sexism within the company.

Fowler, who was was employed as a site reliability engineer in the company’s technology sector, reported on her blog that she was sexually harassed by her boss. She said she faced blocks from progressing in the company for “unreported performance issues” despite her perfect performance track.

When she flagged the issues with HR, they told her that “certain people of certain genders and ethnic backgrounds were better suited for some jobs than others, so I shouldn’t be surprised by the gender ratios in engineering”.

However, this has not deterred MBA students and professors at universities from pushing for the careers they deserve and shattering the industry’s glass ceiling.

Fern Mandelbaum, a business professor at Stanford Business School, has curated a course that focuses on diversity in business. The programme teaches students the value and importance of a diverse working culture both in theory and in practice.

“An inclusive culture is one that respects, values and hears their employees, that thinks about their career progression, that has managers who help their people be successful. Who wouldn’t want to be at a place like that?” Mandelbaum told the Financial Times.

But there is still a long way to go until women are viewed and respected equally to men in the tech industry on a global scale.

In China, The Guardian reports that women are discriminated against in the tech industry due to family ideals, with women being viewed primarily as mothers and a wives.

One woman was told that her job was “too dangerous” for a woman, and her husband was contacted by the company to ask him “why he let her do this?”

But, this does not mean it is impossible to climb to the top in the tech industry. One woman says she manages a team of 12 in one of China’s biggest technology companies.

In fact, some women believe that women are holding themselves back by viewing themselves as lesser than their male counterparts.

“Women feel like outsiders. When you perceive yourself as an outsider and feel like an other, there are significant negative implications for that,” Anna Beninger, director of research at Catalyst, an NGO promoting workplace diversity, told the Financial Times.

The tides may be turning in tech. A 22-year-old Computer Science MSc graduate from The University of Bristol told Study International: “Many tech companies are placing increasing value on diversity in their workplace and are making an active effort to hire women. If you’ve got the right skills this can be a valuable opportunity.”

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