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The Rise of Women in Technology

By britt
Mar. 29, 2016

In the past five decades, the tech sector has been considered a male-dominated industry. Prior to the invention of the modern desktop machine, computers were tasked with solving mathematical and technical problems. Tech jobs were popular among women during WWII, who supported artillery machines and gunnery officers by calculating variances in temperatures and air density to improve shot accuracy. The inclusion of women in technology would not have happened without the influence of pioneering women including Ada Lovelace, a noble British Countess who contributed to the Analytical Engine, and Grace Hopper, one of astounding ‘computers’ of WWII who invented the first compiler for computer programming languages.

Women were not without barriers to entry in technology. In 1960, an era when women were not encouraged to pursue technical careers, the world met Margaret Hamilton. Hamilton wrote the software code used for the Apollo 11 moon landing, which guaranteed Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin safe passage to the moon and back. Despite her expertise and achievements, Hamilton was criticized for her career choice, forsaking the traditional role of running a household full time. Developers, and the larger tech industry, should be thankful for Hamilton’s contributions. Fun fact: Did you know she coined the phrase ‘software engineering’?

Regardless of success, women’s roles in technology subsided during the latter half of the 20th century. The implications of this development resulted from a variety of socioeconomic factors, which are now being evaluated in order to prevent the perpetuation of this issue. The current labour force is in need of women in the sciences, mathematics, engineering, and technology (STEM) disciplines, and here is why:

1. Women can think it up: It is well known that women and men tend to approach issues and think differently. Men problem solve in a linear manner; women, however, are more likely to think holistically. This manifests in considering more aspects, outcomes, and activities in a given situation. In the world of software development, like with Drupal, this becomes a critical element of project management, meeting client expectations, and achieving tight deadlines.

2. Diversity in thought and creation: As mentioned above, women think different than men, thus offer more ideas and inventions to a global marketplace. Diversity in thought and creation will offer enhanced competition, innovation, and problem-solving to some of the world’s greatest issues.

3. The universe is the limit: The tech industry offers ample possibilities to those who invest and use their skills. Tech jobs are fun, rewarding, and creative - technology, by nature, is limitless and open to women of varying skills around the globe.

4. Show me the money!: Studies show that globally most women earn less than men, based on an hourly dollar wage. In order to close the gender pay gap society needs to encourage more women to enter into professional industries, such as technology. Optimistically speaking, this will highlight value and change perceptions of women’s contributions to the global labour force.

5. The future is now: Rising verticals in technology are healthcare and education; historically women have had prominent roles in these industries as teachers and nurses, for instance. By getting involved in these growing revenue streams women can use the critical thinking skills that have made them successful in the past, combined with in-demand technical expertise to create their own success.

Technovation is one program that offers girls an entryway into the world of opportunity that technology can provide. Universities and non-profits worldwide are working tirelessly to promote women in STEM careers. Appnovation is committed to creating opportunities for women of all ages, and look forward sharing the successes of our involvement with Technovation.

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