International Women's Day: PhotoShop, Google Docs and the quest for diversity

There's still a long way to go before we close the gender gap, but some progress is being made.

"At the Huawei not-at-MWC keynote and as usual, there are almost no women here," tweeted tech journalist, Kate Bevan, earlier this month. "I can see four including myself in the audience; the other women work for the PR/events company. This is so incredibly depressing. Tech publications, do better, please."

And it's the same story across the technology industry. At events, men speak - and men attend - in all capacities. WISE, the UK campaign for gender balance in science and engineering has revealed women still only make up 16% of IT professionals and this general trend has remained the same for a decade. The Tech Talent Charter (TTC), dedicated to raising gender balance in the UK, has stalled with gender diversity actually dipping during 2019. While TrustRadius' 2020 report on women in tech provided the usual raft of sobering stats.

Yet, for all the stagnation and depressingly low numbers, things have definitely changed over the last few years. Way back in 2013, IDG Connect conducted a research study which showed 22% of men surveyed thought the gender imbalance was a good thing. This was a shocking stat back then - and still feels shocking now - but these days it hardly holds true. Today, companies desperately want to address the balance, even if they're failing miserably, while women in technology are doing all they can to blow the whistle on prejudice and drive change.

So, to celebrate International Women's Day, here a few symptoms of all this from the last year.

 

PhotoShopping women in

Tech companies are now so anxious to look inclusive that last June BuzzFeed News revealed that some people were trying to pull the wool over people's eyes by simply faking it. A photo, published in GQ, showed 15 mainly white male executives and two women — only the women, Lynn Jurich and Ruzwana Bashir - had actually been PhotoShopped in.

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