At technology tradeshows, you can see first-hand the amazing innovations that enable creativity, maximize efficiency and give people a world of knowledge at our fingertips. Today, many tech products are marketed to women as a way to give us back what we crave most — time. That’s a good thing, but there is a much more pressing question about women and technology: how to get more women involved in STEM fields to build the great tech products of tomorrow.
Women represent about one-half of the U.S. workforce but just one-quarter of STEM jobs. By 2020, there will be 1.4 million computing-related job openings — women are on track to fill only 3 percent of these openings. We can and should do better.
One way to get there is to promote deserving women to leadership positions. A study by the Anita Borg Institute found that Fortune 500 companies with at least three women directors have higher returns on sales. We are smart, creative, think outside of the box and bring tremendous value to the workforce. Although some technology associations have membership that is majority female, it isn’t the norm. And all too often, women aren’t seen in senior management positions.
We also need to encourage more young women to study computer science and related fields. There are many technology organizations out there designed to boost STEM education, such as Girls Who Code, which strives to close the gender gap in technology by teaching middle-and-high-school-aged girls how to code.
Technology tradeshows gather industry leaders from around the world to see the future, connect, do business and grow the tech economy. They get the chance to witness the diversity of products and also the diversity of people involved in making these amazing innovations. The hope is that through these types of connections, we can inspire women and build workplaces that better reflect the true value of our diversity.
Karen Chupka, Senior Vice President, CES and Corporate Business Strategy, CTA, [email protected]