This year's International Women's Day theme is #eachforequal - the idea that we can bring forward gender equality through our collective individual actions. Why is this important for the world of work and business? As #IWD2020 states, 'equality is not a women's issue, it's a business issue'. The case for equality and diverse representation in the workplace is clear: diversity helps businesses thrive.
A recent study found that companies with more diverse management teams have almost 20% higher revenues due to innovation. In technology sectors such as ours, the case for diversity could be argued to be even greater. Gender equality is just one part of the diversity puzzle but it's certainly one place to start.
The question is, how close are we to gender equality in the world of STEM, including AI and robotics?
The facts speak for themselves
- 14% of AI researchers are female - and this has been decreasing over the last 10 years
- Women are 3.5 times more likely to be in a junior tech position at the age of 35+ than a man
- Only 17% of all Fortune 500 CIO positions are held by women
- 40% of US women working in science, leave full-time work after having their first child
Yet, there is a lot of progress that we can be optimistic about
- More females are choosing to study science subjects at A-Level in the UK
- There are more women in executive positions in both STEM and non-STEM FTSE 100 companies
- The benefits of women in senior positions are clear - Fortune 500 companies with at least 3 women in leading positions saw a 66% increase in ROI
- In certain countries, such as Bulgaria, women scientists and engineers actually outnumber men in those professions. Similarly in a number of Asian countries - from Thailand to Kuwait, women make up the majority of researchers
And there are some promising initiatives and programs in place too, such as:
- WISE in the UK
- IEEE for female engineers globally
There is clearly a lot to improve and gaps to close, and if we continue to champion an #eachforequal approach (by driving for equality and diversity in the workplace and the wider society), we can keep encouraging upcoming generations to get involved in STEM. So let's go!