It’s 2018, and we still have big gender equality issue in the technology sector. I’ve served as a researcher and am currently an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, and it’s hard not to notice that women still lack equal representation in many technology companies. According to PwC’s 2017 Annual Corporate Director’s Survey, while most S&P 500 companies — many of which are technology enterprises — have at least one woman on their boards, “only 25% have more than two women, and gender parity is rare.”
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, and it’s true. In October, German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended an Israeli tech summit and roundtable. The event was attended by many of the country’s innovators, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, but there were no women in attendance besides Merkel herself. How surreal and outrageous — there was Merkel, standing in her pink jacket surrounded by so many black and gray suits. I saw that photo, and it made me angry. I’m not the only one who felt this way. Merkel herself said, “It would be better if next time, there was a woman among all those hopeful pioneers of the future.” The event inspired a wave of protests, with people calling for the country’s tech sector to be more inclusive of women. These types of stories are helping to change the way people think — they’re opening our minds and inspiring us to take action and correct this imbalance.
The lack of equal representation of women in the technology sector seems even more absurd when you look at some of the research showing that women can make important contributions to companies. “Research has shown time and again that diversity of thought and perspective leads to better investment returns, better business strategies and stronger organizations as a whole,” said Deborah Christie, managing director at Cambridge Associates, in a press release announcing the company’s report on gender lens investing.
Here are some of the findings included in the report:
• Companies with women in 50% or more of leadership positions tend to see higher growth in sales and earnings per share and a higher return on assets.
• In one study, female-founded or co-founded startups generated 10% more revenue than those founded by men over a five year period.
• Venture capital firms often perform better when they invest in more women-led enterprises, despite the fact that women-led businesses tend to receive less funding overall.