Iliyana's Blog

The State of Women in Tech: Progress, Challenges, and Future Directions

[fa icon="calendar"] 08-May-2024 12:59:24 / by Iliyana Stareva

women in tech - current status and challengesIn recent years, the tech industry has made significant strides towards gender diversity, but the journey is far from complete. Despite increasing awareness and initiatives to bridge the gender gap, women in tech continue to face numerous challenges.

As a big supporter of women in tech, having had most of my career in the space, I wanted to dig into the latest statistics, trends, and thought-provoking insights about women in technology, highlighting both progress and persistent obstacles. 

Here we go. 

Current Statistics and Trends

The representation of women in tech remains disappointingly low, though some progress is evident according to a recent article in TechTarget. Women constitute around 28% of the tech workforce, a slight increase from previous years, but still a stark underrepresentation compared to men. More encouragingly, women's participation in tech roles has been growing annually, with a 3% increase in 2023 alone​.

Leadership roles tell a similar story. Women hold 16% of engineering positions and 27% of data science roles, highlighting a gradual yet positive trend. However, when it comes to executive positions, women occupy only 18% of C-suite roles in tech companies. This gap underscores the persistent barriers women face in climbing the corporate ladder.

Challenges Women Face in Tech

1. Workplace Culture: The tech industry is often criticised for its "bro culture," which can make it difficult for women to feel included and valued. This culture not only affects day-to-day interactions but also influences hiring and promotion practices, often to the detriment of women. I find this to be especially true when it comes to company gatherings or events which by default happen in the evening, often leaving moms out of the equation to attend.

2. Pay Disparity: Gender pay gap is a significant issue, with women in tech earning about 84 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. This disparity is even more pronounced in higher-level positions which I just can't seem to be able to understand. This is why we need salary transparency.

3. Retention: Retaining women in tech roles is another critical challenge. Many women leave the tech industry mid-career due to a lack of career advancement opportunities, inadequate support for work-life balance, and workplace discrimination. According to a study, 56% of women in tech leave their organisations at the mid-level point, which is twice the turnover rate of men. As a mom, I find juggling it all pretty challenging and wondering how will I manage now that I am expecting my second kid. 

What Needs to Change?

While diversity initiatives are increasingly common, they often fail to address the root causes of gender disparity. Here are some provocative thoughts on what needs to change:

1. Beyond Tokenism: Companies must move beyond token diversity hires and create environments where women can thrive, including moms. This includes mentorship programs, transparent promotion pathways, and active dismantling of biased workplace cultures.

2. Flexible Work Environments: To retain female talent, especially those balancing career and family, flexible work arrangements should become the norm rather than the exception. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that remote and hybrid work models can be highly effective, and these should be leveraged to support women in tech.

3. Addressing Unconscious Bias: Unconscious bias training should be mandatory at all levels of an organisation. However, training alone is insufficient. There must be a systemic change in how performance is evaluated and how decisions are made, ensuring that they are based on merit rather than gender stereotypes.

4. Inclusive Leadership: Organisations need leaders who prioritise diversity and inclusion not just in rhetoric but in practice. This means setting measurable diversity goals, holding management accountable for achieving these goals, and fostering a culture where all employees feel empowered to voice their ideas and concerns.

The Future of Women in Tech

The future for women in tech looks promising if current trends continue and if both companies and society commit to substantial changes. The rise of advocacy groups and networks for women in tech is a positive sign, offering support, resources, and a platform to address gender-specific challenges.

Moreover, as the tech industry becomes increasingly central to global economies, the demand for diverse perspectives will grow. Companies that embrace gender diversity are likely to see enhanced innovation and better financial performance, as numerous studies have shown the correlation between diverse teams and business success.

While there has been progress in increasing the representation of women in tech, significant challenges remain. Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach that includes cultural change, policy adjustments, and genuine commitment from leadership.

As the tech industry evolves, it must ensure that women are not just present but are thriving and leading the charge towards a more inclusive and innovative future.

I hope to soon see a tech industry that truly reflects the diverse world it aims to serve, unlocking the full potential of all its members - male and female. 

What are your thoughts on the current status of women in tech and what needs to change?


Topics: Brands and Business, Career, Women in Tech

Iliyana Stareva

Written by Iliyana Stareva

Iliyana Stareva is the author of Inbound PR - the book that is transforming the PR industry. She's also a keynote speaker and a consultant in inbound and digital for fast-growing companies and agencies. Currently, Iliyana is Chief of Staff to the EMEA President at ServiceNow. Before that, she held global and EMEA-wide positions at Cisco and HubSpot. She is also certified by the PMI as a Project Management Professional (PMP)®. In her free time, you can find Iliyana writing for her blog, dancing salsa or travelling the world.

Subscribe here!

New call-to-action
New call-to-action

Get Social

Blog Awards 2018_Winners Silver MPU

Popular Posts

Public Relations Today

Want to talk?


I'm always happy to chat about how we can work together. Get in touch with me and start the conversation. I'd love to hear from you.

Contact Me