The established “macho” culture due to the dominance of men in tech companies and the lack of enough role models are the main barriers to career development women in the IT sector face, Boryana Manolova, CEO of Siemens Bulgaria and Chairperson of the Women in Business Council, said at the closing panel of the first day of the Global Women Leaders’ Forum.
She quoted a new international McKinsey study according to which women are not only poorly represented in technology companies, but also a great percentage of them believe that it is their gender that prevented them to have good career development.
One of the biggest myths in the engineering disciplines is that women are not suitable for engineers and IT experts, because they have no mathematical thinking. What companies can do is to actively oppose such stereotypes, Boryana Manolova said.
Всички участнички в тази дискусия се обединиха около извода, че в последните 20 години се наблюдава сериозно отдръпване на жените от приложните науки и технологичните специалности.
All participants in the discussion agreed on the conclusion that in the past 20 years there has been a serious withdrawal of women from applied sciences and technological disciplines.
The first, who wrote the programs for computer languages were women. In the 80s, 37% of students in technical universities in the United States were women, and today they are less than 20%, Clarice Riley, CEO of DEFI recalled. According to her, companies lose women because they do not provide an attractive environment for them, the atmosphere is “macho” and female competencies are undervalued. Even more alarming is the statistically established fact that 67% of Europeans believe that women can’t be good scientists, Riley added.
Parents mainly are the ones to blame for this situation, Benita Mehra, President of the Women’s Engineering Society in the UK said. Parents do not always understand the essence of engineering and don’t see realization in this, they don’t explain properly to future generations this and the same situation is at schools and as a result to that children believe engineering occupations are difficult and inaccessible and this is one of the hidden barriers to encouraging girls to turn to these opportunities for realization, she said.
Society needs successful role models to illustrate what is the benefit of studying chemistry or physics, Anna-Maria Vilamovska, Secretary for Innovation Policy and Healthcare Policy to the President Rosen Plevneliev, pointed out. The truth is that several generations should be specifically trained to achieve the potential of engineering thought among women from the past, she added.
UNESCO also notes there are alarming signals regarding the involvement of women from early ages in science and technology disciplines, it became clear during the forum. The organization has adopted a general decision that applied science and technology should be taught and presented in a different and clear way of children, especially to girls, so that the interest in them can be reborn. Research is already underway, it aims to determine why girls have moved away from applied science and don’t show such interest in it as they did in the 80s of the last century. The results will be summarized and discussed at a meeting by the end of the year and based on them new approaches in presenting these subjects in schools will be looked for.
Source: Manager News