Women in technology

| 5 mins | 5 mins
As technology continues to shape the world we live in, the demand for skilled professionals in engineering and technology careers is on the rise. Unfortunately, women have been underrepresented in these fields for far too long. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the challenges facing women in engineering technology careers, initiatives aimed at encouraging more women to pursue these paths and discuss why having more women working in these fields benefits everyone.

Challenges faced by women in engineering and technology careers

Women face numerous challenges in their pursuit of a career in engineering technology. One significant obstacle is the gender disparity that exists within these fields, where women are underrepresented and often overlooked for opportunities. Additionally, many women struggle to find support and mentorship, which can hinder their ability to build successful careers.

Another challenge that women encounter is unconscious bias, which can manifest itself through stereotypes or subtle discrimination. This bias can undermine a woman's confidence and negatively impact her future prospects in the field.

Gender disparity

The persistent salary gap between men and women is a troubling issue in the workplace. Despite efforts to close the gap, women continue to be paid less than their male counterparts for performing the same work. Additionally, underrepresentation of women in leadership roles perpetuates this problem as it limits opportunities for female advancement and further contributes to gender inequality. At Volvo Group we are closing the salary gap and also building a robust female leadership pipeline. 

The lack of gender diversity, particularly in fields such as engineering, also plays a significant role in perpetuating gender disparities. Women are traditionally underrepresented in these fields due to social norms that discourage girls from pursuing science and math degrees or careers. Without building a pipeline of female engineers or other technical professionals through education programs, governmental or corporate initiatives or otherwise investing more resources into increasing diversity within these industries there will not be any improvement on this front anytime soon.

Lack of support and mentorship

Limited access to networking opportunities, unequal distribution of resources and funding for women-led initiatives, and inadequate training programs for professional development are some of the challenges that women in engineering and technology face. These issues create a lack of support and mentorship which hinders their career growth potential.

Networking Opportunities:

  • Women have limited access to networking opportunities compared to men.
  • They struggle to build relationships with colleagues or employers within the industry.

Unequal Distribution of Resources:

  • Women-led initiatives often receive less funding than male led initiatives.
  • This limits their ability to build successful projects that could benefit society.

Inadequate Training Programs:

  • Professional development programs are designed primarily with men in mind.
  • Many fail to address the unique needs or interests of women seeking careers in engineering fields.

These factors can make it difficult for women engineers or technologists looking toward building a future career path. It is essential that we recognize these issues if we hope to increase female representation in STEM fields.

Unconscious bias

Unconscious bias is a pervasive issue in the workplace, particularly in fields such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It can manifest itself in subtle ways that marginalize certain groups of people, including women. Some common examples of unconscious bias against women include:

  • Stereotyping and prejudice against women in STEM fields
  • Perception that men are better suited for technical positions
  • Assumptions about worklife balance based on gender

These biases can have significant consequences for female professionals who are trying to build a career or degree in engineering or other technical fields. To combat this issue, it's important to understand how unconscious bias works and take steps to overcome it.

Initiatives to encourage women in technology careers

Networking and mentorship opportunities are also crucial initiatives to promote women in engineering technology careers. Women need access to role models who have achieved success within the industry, as well as the opportunity to connect with other professionals who share similar experiences. Networking events, mentorship programs, and online communities can all contribute towards fostering supportive relationships that help advance careers while breaking down barriers for underrepresented groups.

Networking and mentorship opportunities

These play a significant role in women's career advancement in the engineering and technology industry. Industry leaders are increasingly hosting women-only networking events, providing an inclusive space for female professionals to connect, share ideas, and build relationships. These events offer invaluable opportunities for attendees to meet potential mentors or mentees who can provide guidance on navigating their careers.

Our approach at Volvo Group extends to arranging seminars and networking events, such as our popular #tecHER events, which brings added attention to how women's opportunities in the STEM fields and offers invaluable networking opportunities.

In addition to these types of events, there are also mentor matching programs that pair successful female executives with aspiring women engineers or technologists. These one-on-one mentorship arrangements allow mentees to gain insight into their chosen field from experienced professionals who understand the unique challenges that arise for women in this male-dominated industry.

Career development programs

Leadership training workshops designed for women engineers are becoming more prevalent in the tech industry. These programs aim to bridge the gender gap in leadership positions and provide valuable skills for personal and professional development. Women who participate gain confidence, communication skills, strategic thinking abilities, and effective decision-making techniques.  At Volvo Group we offer ongoing educational opportunities through the Volvo Group University.

Other career development programs include 'Returnships,' which offer technical refresher courses for those who have taken a break from their careers due to familial obligations or other reasons. [Here illustrate with ExcelHER]. Shadowing is another program where junior female employees are paired with senior mentors who can guide them through various projects and help them develop new skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and project management abilities.

Benefits of having more women in engineering technology careers

Diversity in the engineering technology field can lead to various benefits for companies. A diverse and inclusive workplace culture enhances collaboration and productivity. Diverse people bring different perspectives, experiences, and skills to the table that can significantly improve problem-solving and innovation.

Countless research exists today showing that having gender-diverse teams increases profitability and market share as it broadens the scope of thinking when developing products or services. It also helps businesses better understand their customer base by considering different needs from multiple angles. Thus, hiring engineers of all genders and other facets of diversity is not only beneficial for society but also makes good business sense.

Diversity and inclusive workplace culture

Breaking gender bias in the industry and promoting diversity in thoughts, experiences, and perspectives are crucial for creating an inclusive workplace culture. In particular, offering a safe space for women to share their ideas is essential for empowering them within the workforce. Here are some ways companies can facilitate this:

  • Implementing policies that promote gender equality
  • Offering training programs that address unconscious biases
  • Providing mentorship opportunities specifically tailored for women
  • Encouraging open communication channels so all employees feel heard
  • Celebrating diverse backgrounds and experiences

By prioritizing these strategies, companies can create a more dynamic workforce that fosters innovation and growth while also providing equal opportunities for everyone to succeed. We are proud to offer these opportunities at Volvo Group.