When it comes to gender equality in the tech industry, the numbers probably will not surprise you. Only 17% of venture-backed companies are founded by women, and women make up just 7% of partners at 100 of the top venture capitalist firms.
Although many attempts are being made to encourage women into tech, we are still far from gender parity in the industry. What would the world look like if there were equal numbers of men and women in the sector?
Tech is a hot sector, and it’s exciting to see more women getting involved. However, we still have a long way to go before we reach gender equality at the core of the industry, and the recent boom of “women in tech” might be misleading. Just as having a website doesn’t necessarily make your new company a “tech startup,” having a blog doesn’t necessarily make you a “woman in tech.”
I’m not saying that coding is all there is to the tech industry. There’s an important place for non-technical skills: Expertise in online business models, digital marketing, e-commerce, new media, social media strategy, gadgets, and IT infrastructure are all essential to the technology ecosystem.
But the fundamental building blocks of tech—the magic, if you will—come from the engineers who write code. They are the conductors in this symphony of 1s and 0s. Amber Reyngoudt, software engineer at Milk Inc., likened computer scientists to painters or sculptors: “We actually create something with our own hands and then say, ‘I made this.’”
So why is it so important to have more female coders in the tech world?
Inspiring a new generation of women to learn computer science empowers female entrepreneurs to come up with unique solutions to new problems. Additionally, as more and more industries step into the digital age, tech will imbue every part of our economy. Computer science is a growing field, one in which we desperately need more top talent. And one in which women can’t be left behind.
Although tech industry women like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and HP’s Meg Whitman deserve praise for their leadership, the tech world needs more coder role models like Google’s Marisa Mayer. Only then are we ever going to convince the next generation that computer science isn’t just for boys.