Is Diversity in the Tech Industry Impacting Internships for Women?

Like many industries in the world today, internships are a key factor that helps people find their way in a specific field and the tech industry is no different. However, in spite of many companies releasing bold statements about diversifying their organizations, the key factor in helping people is getting them a foot in the door, however, can this be possible with male-dominated panels and biased questions that prevent women from entering in?

Internships at popular technology companies are hyper-competitive

“Many established companies have made bold commitments to hiring a more balanced workforce. Some have gone as far as committing to a 50:50 split,” says Anna Brailsford, CEO at Code First: Girls, which is working to increase the number of women in tech careers. There are two ways to increase the amount of women employees in tech, one is by poaching them from other companies and the other is to hire them at the entry-level through internships, particularly when they are fresh out of college. However, there are hurdles even at the internship stage since “Internships at popular technology companies are hyper-competitive and frequently awarded to those who have completed two years at university. Currently, there is a disproportionate focus on computer science degrees, mainly because it is one of the few degree disciplines that will actually teach students how to code in some capacity. When we ask women what is inhibiting them from applying for an internship, they will often say entry requirements,” added Brailsford. One woman said that even though she sent so many applications, emails, and tweets, she found nothing.

Women are being treated like they are less knowledgable than men

“Diversity and inclusion are beyond what meets the eye. As a young girl, I just didn’t think of Stem as a career, and I carried that with me into my adult life, because I felt that I didn’t have what it needs,” says Rituja Rao who now works at London-based tech-consultant Sparta Global, who took her on despite her non-technical background in journalism. Hence, internships that value teamwork, authenticity, and project-based outcomes are something that women should aspire towards and companies need to offer such. Furthermore, it’s also about treating women like they are men because women in tech are being treated as if they are less knowledgeable than men. Lauren Allison, CEO of online course provider #techmums, “It’s appalling that it’s 2019 and the small changes in statistics are seen as the situation ‘getting better’. There’s still a long way to go and the pace of change is disappointing. ‘Getting better’ isn’t good enough, and things need to change at a grassroots level.”

Image credit: Medium

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