Lack of role models and stereotypes still the biggest obstacles for women in tech

By Oliver Smith on Tuesday 8 March 2022

Alternative LendingDigital BankingSavings and Investment

“The perception is always that women must first prove that they are capable, and this attitude is persistent.”

Lack of role models and stereotypes still the biggest obstacles for women in tech
Image source: Christina@wocintechchat.com/Unsplash.

While progress has been made, in 2022 the tech sector, and fintech specifically, remain very much male-dominated.

Change is happening, but huge obstacles remain in encouraging and promoting women within the industry, as highlighted by fresh survey data from London Tech Week today, published to mark International Women’s Day.

Some 68 per cent of respondents pointed to gender perception as the biggest obstacle for women getting into tech, closely followed by stereotyping (60 per cent) and a lack of support during schooling (48 per cent).

One respondent outlined her experience, painfully explaining: “I have watched women and men join in the same roles and be treated completely differently.” 

“Men are thrown in at the deep end and challenged, women are faced with the attitude ‘I don’t want to give her anything too difficult’ from men at a lower skill level.”

She added that: “The perception is always that women must first prove that they are capable, and this attitude is persistent.”

Further obstacles highlighted by the survey included a lack of role models (57 per cent) and negative stories of women in the media—like Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes—which would make it difficult to get funding (48 per cent) or launch a startup (41 per cent).

In terms of what should be done to help get more women into tech, the key answers given by those surveyed were equal pay (68 per cent), flexible working opportunities (62 per cent) and initiatives from companies to educate girls at schools (57 per cent.

Increased childcare as a way to help more women get into the industry was only mentioned by 38 per cent of respondents.

“We need to be looking at solutions that start during women’s school age and span across their lifetime,” said Elka Goldstein, interim CEO of London Tech Week.

“Educate in schools, create visible role models, provide access to skills programmes and generate more opportunities for funding. It can’t be just one of these interventions it needs to be all of them. Society shapes stereotypes and creates biases that we need to address well before women even enter the workforce.”

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