Women in IT: Standing Out in a Male-Dominated Industry

Information technology (IT) is where the lucrative jobs and new, exciting opportunities are—and where they will be in the future. At the same time, the current stats show it is one of the most male-dominated industries in the world. Based on various diversity reports, female employees make up between 26% (Microsoft) and 43% (Netflix) of the workforce at major tech companies, with the percentage dropping much lower for actual tech jobs. The percentage of female IT leaders globally is less than 10%, and Silicon Valley is almost universally ruled by men.

On the eve of International Women’s Day, we dedicate this article to all women in IT and engineering and all women at Auriga who lead us, inspire us, and encourage us to strive for greatness.

Women in Tech History

Interestingly, if we dig deeper into history, technology was not always a male-dominated sector. In fact, dozens of women have made significant contributions to the advancement of the tech field. Ada Lovelace (1815–1852), a pioneer and prophet of the computer age, is widely recognized as the first computer programmer. Grace Hopper (1906–1992) worked on UNIVAC I, the first commercial computer in the US, and coined the term “computer bug.” Radia Perlman (1951–) created the algorithm behind the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), which is an essential part of the Internet’s underlying foundation. The list goes on and on, as computing was originally women’s domain.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the proportion of women working in IT was quite high, as most IT jobs were seen as low status and clerical in nature. However, with the rapid development of the industry, IT jobs gained prestige, which drew more men to the field. Due to lack of encouragement and female role models, driven by unconscious bias and stereotypes, girls are now losing interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. There are generally four times more men than women with IT-related education in Europe and the US. This is the challenge for us to meet, as a lack of gender diversity in IT is resulting in a skills gap, undiscovered talent, and a loss of innovative capacity.

Why Have More Women in IT

Why does the underrepresentation of women in tech matter? Why is it important to bring more women to IT, and what benefits do they offer? Elena Baranova, Director of Engineering at Auriga, answered:

Software development is complex and requires a vast array of expertise and experience. We at Auriga believe in the power of balanced teams, diverse mindsets, and complementary thinking. A healthy gender mix is crucial to optimize work potential, enhance problem-solving, and encourage ideas that foster innovation and creativity. This is what gives your team a competitive edge in today’s dynamic IT environment.

For years, Auriga has been focused on maintaining its gender diversity at a level higher than average in the industry. Our executive management team is a balanced mix: 55% male and 45% female. About 25% of our engineers are women, 20% of them are senior experts, and 9% are juniors making their first steps in their IT careers. Most of them are software engineers (43%) and test engineers (42%), but they also work as technical writers, analysts, project managers, and team leads.

Attracting and retaining female IT specialists is not an easy task, as there are many more men among computer science graduates, but it is worth it. Alena Berezina, Auriga’s HR Director, noticed:

Women still need higher qualifications than men to be accepted and recognized in the IT industry. It means that women, on average, are better educated than men in the field. Moreover, women tend to be more attentive to quality and details: a recent study from GitHub reveals that code written by women has a higher approval rating than that written by men—though only when the coder’s gender is not disclosed. So in the absence of bias, women are seen as better coders!

In addition, Auriga’s software development centers operate in countries with a high proportion of women in IT. We have five engineering centers in Russia (where, according to UNESCO, 41% of people involved in scientific research are women, compared with 29% for the rest of the world) and several software development and testing labs in Lithuania (which, according to Eurostat, has the highest proportion of women in science and tech in Europe—almost 60%). This allows us to build balanced and diverse teams of top engineering talents for our customers.

Still a Male-Dominated Sector?

A culture of excluding women from tech has prevailed almost globally for too long. Today, however, more and more initiatives are arising to encourage girls to study STEM and women to pursue tech careers. Bringing more females to IT will help companies fill the tech talent shortage, expand the IT skills pool, minimize the gender pay gap, and even increase revenue—researchers have proved that gender diversity is indeed profitable for business.

Obviously, software development remains a male-dominated sphere, but without women, it would not be what it is today and, more importantly, may face serious challenges in the future. As Svetlana Anishchenko, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Auriga, stated:

We shouldn’t expect less of women and lower the bar for their accomplishments based on gender alone. At Auriga, female engineers contribute to the development of the most complex and sophisticated software for such high-demand and strictly regulated industries as healthcare, automotive, and avionics. They are capable of managing major projects and large engineering teams. They offer new perspectives and make us more inclusive in our strategies. Basically, women work on par with men to bring us a brighter and smarter tomorrow.

Dear ladies, it is our honor to congratulate you with the International Women’s Day. Your strength, dedication and powerful mindset are truly an inspiration for us. Dream big, reach your goals and shine all the way!