A new report, released by the Fawcett Society in collaboration with Virgin Media O2, has shed light on the pervasive issue of sexism within the technology industry, with a staggering 72 percent of women in tech roles reporting personal experiences of discrimination.
The findings unveil a toxic culture that permeates the industry, exposing not only the prevalence of sexist behaviour but also the various forms it takes.
The study, conducted in collaboration with men in the technology sector, found that 20 percent of male respondents believed that women did not naturally fit into the industry.
Sexism, as reported by women in tech, encompasses a range of issues, including being paid less than male counterparts, enduring sexist ‘banter,’ and facing unwarranted questioning of their abilities and skills.
Key insights from the report highlight that 32 percent of women working in tech perceive gender bias during the recruitment process, with 14 percent expressing discomfort due to their gender during recruitment.
Outside the tech sector, over a quarter of women believe that the industry is more prone to sexist behaviour compared to other sector
Fostering an inclusive environment
The report also reveals a particularly acute issue for Black women, with one in three reporting assumptions about their technical roles.
Joanna Kori, Head of People at Encompass Corporation, emphasized the urgency of addressing the digital skills gap and the need for improved strategies to attract and retain women in technology. Kori stressed the importance of fostering an inclusive environment and providing support to create opportunities for female talent.
Kori stated, “Women have so much to offer, and organisations within the technology sector must continue to invest in female talent to see the benefits. It is important that businesses are proactive when it comes to putting the right policies and initiatives in place, with a focus on fostering an inclusive environment that provides the support that is needed.”
Sheila Flavell CBE, Chief Operating Officer of FDM Group, expressed disappointment at the persistence of sexist stereotypes within the technology industry. Flavell emphasised the crucial role women play in addressing the skills crisis and called for increased support through training courses, flexible working initiatives, and mentoring opportunities.
Flavell remarked, “More support must be shown through offering training courses, flexible working initiatives and mentoring opportunities to all.” The report underscores the imperative for the industry to actively confront and eliminate sexist practices to ensure a more inclusive and diverse workforce for the future.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.