Women in Tech Statistics: Despite Great Strides, Challenges Persist

These statistics show that the technology industry can take more steps to level the playing field for women in tech.

Written by Matthew Urwin
Women in Tech Statistics: Despite Great Strides, Challenges Persist
Image: Shutterstock
Matthew Urwin | Apr 13, 2023

Sadly, the tech sector lags behind the rest of the job market when it comes to hiring women. Although women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, they only made up roughly a third of the workforces at large global technology firms in 2022. 

Below are more statistics on women in technology that explore the issue further and reveal what steps tech companies can take to level the playing field.   


Statistics on the Low Number of Women in Technology   

Women want to be a part of the workforce, as reflected in their national labor force participation rate of 56.8 percent in 2022. However, they continue to face hurdles when attempting to gain a foothold in the tech industry, reducing the number of women in technology. 


Women Candidates Are Less Likely to Receive Callbacks 

A 2019 study found that women on average are 30 percent less likely than their male counterparts to receive a callback for a job interview. This trend shows how it’s difficult for women just to get on the radars of tech recruiters, even if they meet all the job requirements.


Women of Marginalized Groups Struggle to Break Into Computing-Related Roles

Between 2007 and 2020, women occupied 25 percent of computing-related roles, and white women made up 13 percent of this group. Asian and Pacific Islander women made up 7 percent, Black women made up 3 percent and Latina and Hispanic women made up 2 percent. These uneven percentages signal that women of marginalized groups often experience discrimination that encompasses both race and gender, placing more obstacles in the paths of their tech careers.


Percentage of Women in STEM Fields Remains Low 

Although the number of women in science, technology, engineering and math positions has steadily increased (they made up only 8 percent of STEM roles in 1970), women still only represent about 27 percent of the STEM workforce today. This jump is an encouraging sign for aspiring women in tech, but it also shows there’s still a long way to go in making sure the tech and STEM industries reflect the general workforce.  


Not Enough Women Earn STEM-Related Degrees

Women college graduates dominate in fields like the social sciences, but they only receive 21 percent of computer science degrees, 24 percent of engineering degrees and 24 percent of physics degrees. This means that recruiters have a limited talent pool of women to draw from and that female college students may get discouraged by the small numbers of women in tech sectors, creating a cycle that exacerbates the issue of not enough women entering tech. 


Statistics on Challenges in the Workplace for Women in Tech

The struggles for women in technology continue long after they’ve navigated recruiting and hiring processes. Women are sometimes not perceived as belonging in tech spaces, and this reality impacts both their psychological and economic well-being. 


Women Continue to Be Paid Less Than Their Male CoWorkers

In 2022, women made 82 percent of men’s salaries, only a 2 percent increase since 2002. This stat could reflect women and men entering different sectors, but it could also reveal that women get paid less for performing similar work to their male coworkers. Either way, women are undervalued for their work, and they may struggle to remain in industries like tech without livable and equitable wages.  


Black and Hispanic Women Earn the Lowest Incomes in STEM

A 2021 Pew Research Center study found that Black and Hispanic women receive the lowest earnings among women in STEM fields. Even as companies address pay differences between men and women, these initiatives may overlook women of color. Taking into account race and ethnicity is crucial to developing equitable compensation practices that value the work of all women in tech.


Women of Color Face Racial and Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

Among women of color in the workplace, 17 percent of Asian women, 16 percent of Latina women and 13 percent of Black women report that others make assumptions about their nationality or culture. This contrasts with only 2 percent of white women reporting similar experiences. 


Women in Tech Are More Likely to Be Laid Off Than Men 

Women are 65 percent more likely than men to be impacted by layoffs in the tech industry, which may result in women feeling more pressure to perform at a high level. The frequent loss of women coworkers also takes away chances for women in tech to form closer relationships with each other and expand their professional networks.

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Stats About Women in Tech and Leadership Numbers

Leadership positions remain out of reach for many women in technology. And for those women who do land leadership roles, many often encounter others’ doubts about their leadership abilities.  


Women Entrepreneurs Are Outnumbered by Their Male Counterparts

Women started nearly half of U.S. businesses in 2021. But in 2022, male business owners outnumbered women entrepreneurs three to one.   


Women Entrepreneurs of Color Are Severely Underrepresented

Among women-led small businesses, 78.4 percent of business owners identify as white;  11.3 percent identify as Black or African-American; 4.6 percent identify as Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin; 4.6 percent identify as Asian or Asian-American; and 1 percent identify as Middle Eastern or North African. These numbers may indicate that women of color have less access to resources and opportunities than white women. 


Venture Capital Funding Fails to Reach Women Founders 

Out of the total venture capital raised in 2022 by startups, women-founded companies received only 2.1 percent of funding, which reflects the idea that women founders may lack the reputation and connections that men founders possess in the startup world.


Women Leaders Often Experience Imposter Syndrome

About 75 percent of women in executive positions experience imposter syndrome, meaning they believe they’ve reached their positions by chance or other factors, rather than hard work and talent.


Statistics on Gender Expectations for Women in Technology

In addition to a lack of resources and opportunities, women are often expected to make the most of the few chances they get in tech while shouldering the expectations of traditional gender roles.  


Working Women Are Expected to Shoulder Caregiving Duties

Working women are five to eight times more likely than working men to be affected by caregiving duties. Needing to take time off to care for loved ones forces women to play catch up with their job responsibilities. If tech companies fail to take this reality into account, they may only worsen women employees’ mental health and accelerate employee burnout.  


Women Are Funneled Into Certain Sectors  

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 96.8 percent of preschool and kindergarten teachers and 91.3 percent of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses are women. The disproportionate number of women in these professions suggests that traditional gender norms can influence women’s career paths and steer them away from technical roles. 


Women Leaders Are Likely to Be Mistaken for More Junior Workers

Women leaders are twice as likely than their male counterparts to be mistaken as an employee in a more junior role, which suggests that many employees and companies still don’t associate women with high-level positions.


Women Are Less Likely to Be Promoted Than Men

A study from an MIT Sloan professor found that women are 14 percent less likely to be promoted than men. This statistic reinforces the idea that women are overlooked for higher-level opportunities, stunting their professional development and limiting their career options.  


Women Leave Due to Lack of Advancement Opportunities and Poor Work-Life Balance 

Twenty-two percent of women listed a lack of advancement opportunities as the main reason for leaving their companies, while 18 percent reported a lack of work-life balance. Tech companies that fail to provide women with professional development opportunities and comprehensive employee benefits risk losing top women employees to businesses and sectors that account for their personal and professional needs.

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Stats About Women in Tech Pushing for Change and Equity 

The deck may be stacked against women in tech, but that hasn’t stopped them from pushing for change and more opportunities. On a global and national level, women have experienced slow but steady progress in the workplace. 


More Women Are Entering Leadership Positions Globally

The number of women hired for leadership positions globally rose from 33.3 percent in 2016 to 36.9 percent in 2022. While the difference might seem small, this statistic shows that women have been reaching the highest levels of tech and other industries in spite of gender biases, unfair expectations and limited company support.  


More Women Are Becoming Entrepreneurs and Opening Businesses Globally

In a study of 50 countries, two out of every five early-stage entrepreneurs were women. Men still outnumber women as business owners and entrepreneurs, but the stat reaffirms that the ranks of women entrepreneurs are rising across the world.


Women in the U.S. Are Owning More Businesses

Within the U.S., women now own 42 percent of all businesses. The global increases in women owners reflect a similar trend happening on a national level, although the numbers may vary between countries.


More Black Women Are Starting Businesses 

In 2021, 17 percent of Black women owned businesses, compared to just 10 percent of white women and 15 percent of white men. Unfortunately, this trend may suggest that Black women are leaving companies where they’ve faced gender and racial discrimination. But more Black women-owned businesses could also signal a chance for Black women to form professional communities and support up-and-coming Black women leaders in tech and other industries.


Women in tech tell us how to fix the industry's gender problem. | Video: VICE News

Companies Can Do More to Support Women in Technology 

While women have demonstrated resilience and success on their own, companies can accelerate their progress by taking concrete steps to support women in tech. Below are a few strategies and policies businesses can implement to enable their women employees to thrive.


Prioritize Diversity Policies in Hiring and Advancement 

Because the tech industry moves so fast, diversity sometimes gets overlooked — especially when it comes to hiring. One way companies can increase the number of women in their ranks is by adjusting their hiring practices. For example, blind applications can increase women’s chances of being hired by 25 percent.   

Hiring for traits like curiosity, engagement, drive, passion and insight — rather than prior experience alone — enables women to move past the “broken rung” and into entry-level positions that match their qualifications.

Another solution is to establish quotas for accepting women interviewees and hiring women candidates. Women are often overlooked for managerial positions because there are fewer of them in the workplace. With more women hired for entry-level positions, more women can also then be considered for promotions to managerial spots. 

Having a diversity of opinions on tech company boards is also incredibly important for holding companies accountable to their DEI commitments. Ensuring women make up half of the board increases the number of voices calling for equitable hiring and employment practices for women in tech workplaces.


Establish Unconscious Bias Training for Hiring Managers and Employees

Unconscious biases are the underlying attitudes and stereotypes people associate with a person or groups of people. An earlier statistic of women being mistaken for more junior employees highlights how subtle yet pervasive unconscious biases can be. 

These biases also arise in the hiring process when teams hire for culture fit, which gauges how well candidates get along with team members and whether they share similar interests.

Unconscious bias training programs are designed to expose people to their biases and to provide the necessary thought exercises and tools to counteract those behaviors. Methods like counter-stereotyping and perspective-taking expose trainees to women’s negative experiences through reading essays and performing tasks that display the challenges faced by women at work. These trainings develop empathy for women among trainees and can lead to a more welcoming and aware workforce that lifts up women and members of other marginalized groups.


Recognize and Reward Women Leaders and Employees for Their Work

While women are two times more likely than men to work on DEI initiatives, 40 percent of women leaders claim their DEI work goes unacknowledged. Studies have also shown that managers more quickly forget the achievements and statements of Black women than those of white men and white women. 

To build a culture where women are recognized, managers, coworkers and executives must constantly call out instances where a woman’s hard work is going unnoticed. An easy way to show praise and bring unnoticed work to light is to send out frequent emails or internal messages to your group highlighting ideas and projects brought about by women. This way, women’s contributions are on full display and can set women up for future promotions due to their demonstrated impact and leadership qualities.  


Provide Flexible and Remote Work Policies 

Over half of women say working from home has made them more productive, compared to 37 percent of men who say the same thing. In addition, women are two times more likely than men to say working from home has helped with their job advancement. Considering that women often have caregiving and home responsibilities, companies can develop more flexible PTO and work-from-home policies that allow women to balance personal and professional demands.

Businesses can take this approach further by offering wellness days, which give employees the benefit of taking off without the stigma of using personal days. These days can stave off employee burnout, especially among women. Companies that also limit email hours, establish set meeting times and designate days as no-meeting days can avoid an “always-on” culture and boost the mental health of women and the rest of the workforce.

An earlier version of this story was written by Sam Daley and published in 2020.

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