Your Competitors See the Value of Women – Do You?

**This is a guest post from Michelle Gyimah from Equality Pays**

As if you needed any more motivation to include more women in your tech firm, your bottom line means that women should be a key asset to your business.

It’s not enough to throw up your hands and say that you didn’t get any female applicants for your roles, as research frequently shows that women are discriminated against in the hiring process. You need to proactively find the right women and encourage them to work for your tech company.

If you don’t, other companies will.

It could be a PR disaster

Women make up 51% of the working population, and while the figures vary, women are often cited as filling as few as 16% of technical roles in the tech industry.

The true story came to public attention in 2013 when Pinterest engineer, Tracy Chou, published an article asking tech companies to reveal their gender diversity statistics.

Companies coming under fire for their lack of diversity include Facebook, Apple, Twitter and Microsoft.

With this in mind, many investors and funders are heavily valuing diversity in start-ups and boards.

Women are using your products

In all likelihood, a large percentage of your user base or customers is probably female. You could be alienating a large proportion of your target audience if a lack of diversity is causing you to make biased business decisions.

49% of teenage girls use social media site Twitter, compared to 34% of boys, and 68.2% of image sharing website Pinterest’s total user base is female. If tech teams aren’t diverse then this is bad news for users and, in the long term, for profits.

While women are well-represented among tech users, men predominate in tech companies. This often results in products that are a bad fit for women due to lack of diverse perceptions in product teams.

Just take the well-known example of the Apple health app that ignored menstruation. It’s classic result of non-diverse product teams coming up with inferior products and hindering innovation.

Women’s consumer power is growing

Women are worth $20 trillion of annual consumer spending, and 85% of all consumer purchases according to Bloomberg.

If your products are targeting families, you need to appeal to them. As women are the primary caregivers in almost every society, they often by on behalf children. Many elderly people are also looked after by female relatives, who will drive the buying decisions on their behalf.

Women’s global income is also growing, predicted to reach $18 trillion by 2018. If you don’t start selling better products to women, your competitors will.

Conclusion

More women in your tech firm is the right thing to do but it also makes good business sense.

From making your company more appealing to funders, to protecting yourself from a PR disaster, to ensuring you consistently produce a great product for your users, the benefits are numerous.

Tackling the lack of women in your tech firm can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it on your own. Righttrack Consultancy offers bespoke Equality and Diversity training to help businesses come to terms with their actions and also their Unconscious Bias. Equality Pays also offer numerous ways to work with tech firms specifically, including a standalone Business Strategy Session and Audit, Action, Accountability Programme.

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