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The Gender Gap in Technology and How to Disrupt It

By The Grace Hopper Team

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The Gender Gap in Technology and How to Disrupt It

Amid the gains made in striving for gender equality in different industries, the technology sector—while it has had some success in diversifying its workforce—still lags in narrowing its gender gap.

The gender gap in technology traditionally describes the lack of equal representation of women in the field and how career experiences for men in technology diverge widely from that of women. According to a report from Accenture and Girls Who Code, the percentage of women-occupied tech roles is actually lower today than it was in the 1980s—standing at 32% versus 35% in 1984.

A widened scope of the gender gap in technology includes nonbinary professionals, who also face persistent inequality in tech. According to data from a 2020 Stack Overflow survey, only 1.1% of respondents working in technology identified as nonbinary. With around 3% of Americans aged 18 to 29 identifying as nonbinary, according to Pew Research, the tech sector has work to do to improve equality for individuals in these underrepresented communities.

Business leaders can tackle the gender gap in technology, but not on their own. The next step is to design and implement strategies that empower women and nonbinary employees—with the understanding that making the right moves can improve not only equality and diversity, but overall performance, too.

Accessible Tech Education for Women and Non-Binary Students.

Explore the Grace Hopper Program at Fullstack Academy, an immersive software engineering course for women and non-binary students

Gender Gap in Tech Statistics

Over 5 million people in the U.S. are employed in computer and mathematical occupations, which include roles like computer programmer, software developer, and operations research analyst, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Yet BLS data also reveals that only 26.2% of individuals employed in these occupations are women.

Women leaders in tech are even more scarce. For example, only 25% of board seats in the technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) industries are held by women, according to a 2022 Deloitte report. Women held only about 40% of C-suite positions and board of directors seats in U.S. technology startups, according to a 2020 Silicon Valley Bank report. This is an opportunity for tech startup investors to use their power to help close the gender gap in technology.

Other data points to continued inequality for nonbinary individuals in tech as well. For example, results from a 2021 research survey published in Science Advances showed that nonbinary individuals in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields were more likely to lean toward the idea of leaving their jobs than cisgender individuals due to a variety of factors—from discrimination to limited access to career growth opportunities.

These shortcomings are mirrored in STEM education for women and girls and for nonbinary individuals. For example, while women earned 53% of STEM college degrees, only 22% of those degrees were in engineering and 19% in computer science, according to a 2021 Pew Research report. In another example, individuals with nonbinary gender identities made up less than 1% of computer science majors, according to The Stanford Daily.

The Importance of Closing the Gender Gap in Technology

Closing the gender gap in technology is both a societal and a business concern. Efforts to improve equality and diversity should focus on a simple goal: ensuring equal access to opportunities and fair treatment for everyone. The benefits of this approach include improving mutual respect in the workplace, strengthening interpersonal relationships, and opening up channels of communication between individuals and teams.

Working to close the gender gap in technology offers business benefits as well. A 2020 McKinsey report shows that companies with a diverse workforce are 25% more likely to achieve above-average profitability. Women leaders in tech can also help achieve higher returns on investments, according to Forbes. Additional benefits of a diverse workforce for businesses include a better talent bench, increased employee engagement, and higher worker retention rates.

Strategies for Closing the Gender Gap in Technology

Organizations and individuals who want to help close the gender gap in technology should begin by making it a high priority. Communicating the business benefits of inclusion in the workforce is a vital strategy to win buy-in for diversity initiatives in the executive suite.

Companies can lean on organizations already making an impact on diversity issues, such as women’s coding communities and tech affinity groups for nonbinary individuals, to learn how to encourage underrepresented populations to pursue careers in tech.

Common strategies for closing the gender gap in technology include the following:

Take an Organizational Approach to Equality

Building equity in the workplace is a noble goal that requires resources and an infusion of strategic investments in both time and money. Any program focused on making the workplace more equitable must set goals and define measurable metrics. Otherwise, it can be challenging to determine a program’s effectiveness.

Build a Culture of Inclusion

Creating a work culture that prioritizes inclusion also promotes increased team engagement and mental wellness. Establishing a culture of inclusion is both a top-down and bottom-up effort, but leaders are responsible for providing practical tools, such as diversity training, to help make work settings equitable for all.

Expand Recruiting Efforts

Organizations transforming to build an inclusive culture should look closely at their recruiting tactics to ensure their current hiring approaches address the gender gap in technology and facilitate diversity. Current employees can provide valuable feedback on opportunities for improvement.

Increase Accountability and Transparency

Leaders are responsible for ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce. Sharing demographic data about employees with the workforce and the public can help increase transparency and accountability. Accountability also means reviewing data about compensation and promotions and adjusting to help ensure opportunities are available to everyone.

Improve Parental Leave Policies

Welcoming a child into a family can be a logistical and financial struggle for new parents. Only 23% of workers have access to paid family leave, according to the BLS. Some parental leave policies include terms like “maternity leave” and “paternity leave.” However, both these terms may exclude surrogate parents, adoptive or foster care parents, or nonbinary parents. Mindful leave policies which include those in partner relationships or nontraditional parental roles can help improve parental leave policies overall.

Accessible Tech Education for Women and Non-Binary Students.

Explore the Grace Hopper Program at Fullstack Academy, an immersive software engineering course for women and non-binary students

Empowering Women and Nonbinary Individuals In Tech

When it comes to improving workplace equity and inclusion, the responsibility lies with everyone. Anyone, whether in the tech sector or not, can help address the gender gap in technology by advocating for diversity and inclusion from a societal perspective.

An organization’s leaders can leverage strategies for closing tech’s gender gap to embed diversity, inclusion, and equity into the DNA of their organization. The Grace Hopper Program at Fullstack Academy emphasizes the importance of gender-allied tech education for women and nonbinary coders. In just 19 weeks, individuals can gain the skills and knowledge that can help prepare them for a successful career in tech, all within a fully immersive online experience.

Learn more about the Grace Hopper Program and how this career-focused bootcamp delivers personalized support and a culture of transparency to help individuals pursue careers in tech, including in web development and JavaScript programming.

Recommended Readings

How One Company Finds Recruiting Success with the Grace Hopper Program

5 Influential Latina Women Disrupting the Tech Industry

Coding While Black: Black Tech Professionals Share Their Experiences


ABC News, “Transgender in Tech: More Visibility but Obstacles Remain”

Accenture, “Resetting Tech Culture”

CIO, “Women in Tech Statistics: The Hard Truths of an Uphill Battle”

Deloitte, “Women in Tech Are Cracking the Industry’s Glass Ceiling, Achieving Double-Digit Gains in Leadership Roles”

Forbes, “10 Stats That Build the Case for Investing in Women-Led Startups”

Forbes, “How Companies Can Help Close the Gender Gap in the Tech Sector”

Gartner, “How Women in IT Are Championing Change”

Harvard Business Review, “Two Ways to Improve Gender Balance in Tech”

Harvard Business Review, “Why Tech’s Approach to Fixing Its Gender Inequality Isn’t Working”

McKinsey & Company, “Being Transgender at Work”

McKinsey & Company, “Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters”

PC, “The Gender Gap in Tech Is Still a Big Problem: Here’s What You Can Do”

Pew Research Center, “About 5% of Young Adults in the U.S. Say Their Gender Is Different from Their Sex Assigned at Birth”

Pew Research Center, “STEM Jobs See Uneven Progress in Increasing Gender, Racial and Ethnic Diversity”

Science Advances, “Systemic Inequalities for LGBTQ Professionals in STEM”

Silicon Valley Bank, “2020 Women in U.S. Technology Leadership”

Stack Overflow, “2020 Developer Survey”

The Stanford Daily, “Diversity in CS: Race and Gender Among CS Majors in 2015 vs. 2020”

Synopsys, “Closing the Gender Gap in Today’s Tech Industry”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employee Benefits Survey

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey