To ensure that the future holds equal opportunities and fairness, change needs to be enacted today. One of these changes would be to increase efforts to motivate and inspire the next generation of women leaders in digital transformation.
Progress is both an inevitable and a welcome change in both business and society. Digital transformation and technology are no exception, as recent advances in these fields have seen scientific discoveries, digitization and productivity soar. However, progress will never truly fulfill its course if a wide portion of society aren’t included in the unfolding wave of change.
For the future of digital transformation to be more equal, we need to inspire more young women and girls today. Once we understand why so many women are missing from this industry and how this impacts gender inequality, we can begin looking towards a brighter future.
At our current rate of progress, equality is a distant goal. At 20 of the world’s largest technology firms, only 25% of the leadership positions are held by women. While this is undoubtedly a significant increase from a few decades ago, the future of technology should be led by an equal group that represents all genders.
Although comparisons between women and men in leadership positions give us an accurate idea of where women are missing, our current picture of inequality is further exacerbated if we take an intersectional approach. Not only are women earning less than men in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), but Black and Hispanic women in these fields take home $20,000 less a year than the industry average and $33,000 less than white male colleagues.
Due to this disparity among women of color, efforts to inspire tomorrow’s female leaders in digital transformation need to ensure that an intersectional approach that inspires all members of society is adopted.
Preparation for the future begins in the present, and in the case of motivating the next generation of women leaders, the focus is on the classroom. For enough women to acquire the sufficient knowledge and expertise to be pioneers of the future and lead change, more young women and girls need to study STEM subjects today.
However, outdated ideas about appropriate studies for different genders continue to hold many girls back from choosing more technical subjects. Unfortunately, gender bias begins from a young age and girls can be as young as ten years old when they lose interest in STEM subjects and feel discouraged from choosing them.
This disparity then limits the number of women who go on to study STEM subjects in higher education. Although there are currently more women enrolled in higher education than men, only 35% of STEM students are women. Once these students graduate and enter the working world, the gender gap widens, as just under one fifth of science and engineering professionals are women.
Therefore, for the future of digital transformation to be led by more women, girls should be encouraged to study STEM subjects at school. If the gender norms and stereotypes that affect the learning experience of so many female students are eliminated, the knock-on effect that leads to a lack of female leaders will cease to continue.
Preparation for the future begins in the present.”
Another way to motivate tomorrow’s pioneers is by shining a light on women leaders. By having real, visible role models, young women and girls will see that technology is a space where they can thrive and see success.
For this to be achieved, organizations in STEM industries can utilize the resources at their disposal to celebrate both women leaders and up-and coming stars at their companies. Not only will this be a fantastic way to recognize the hard work of a valued employee, but it will also give future peers an example of who they could become. In addition, increased representation will encourage women from all backgrounds to take up STEM subjects and boost diversity in leadership roles.
Paving the way towards a more equal future that includes balanced boardrooms takes time, but it can begin by inspiring the leaders of tomorrow. By ensuring that young women and girls aren’t steered away from the possibilities of STEM and by boosting representation of today’s female leaders, we can create a future where more women are at the helm of digital transformation.