Diversity

Sexist career advice is deterring girls from tech

By Kitty Knowles 6 March 2017
Summary

No, no, no, no, no.

We know there’s a bias against women in the tech industry, but this bias starts with how girls are being treated at school.

Bright young teenagers aren’t being put off tech by ignorant peers, but from the leaders around them who should be the wind beneath their wings.

Startlingly, few girls are being encouraged into careers in the field, a new report from PwC finds, as the careers advice they receive serves to reinforce gender stereotypes.

 

Not an option

PwC surveyed 2,000 A-level and university students, and found that the technology gender gap starts at school.

Most young women surveyed said they wouldn’t consider a career in tech because they simply hadn’t been given enough information about life in the sector – and because no one has suggested it as an option.

While 33% of male A-level and university students say they’ve had a career in technology suggested to them, the figure for females is only 16% – a glaring disparity.

This is one of the key reasons, PwC suggests, that only 27% of females say they would consider a career in technology, compared to 62% of males.

Out-of-date teachers

In most cases it will be a teacher who suggests a career in technology, but PwC suggests that the stereotype of technology as being “for boys only” is prevalent throughout the profession.

We agree, and sadly have seen other reports that back this up.

Just last month, a study from Accenture found 57% of teachers admit to stereotyping girls & boys in relation to tech.

Stop this sexist education

This week we will be celebrating International Women’s Day, and the women who have succeeded in technology – and beyond.

But for more generations to follow we must fight for girls to have equal opportunities.

That fight has to start with challenging sexist stereotyping at primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and beyond.