The Importance of Women in Tech


Raj Verma


Did you know that a woman’s chance of being seriously injured in a car crash is almost double that of a man’s? You may be wondering how this is possible. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find an example of how bias in industries have real life consequences.  

The Importance of Women in Tech

The first car crash dummies developed in the 1950's were modeled on the average male and his proportions. “Female” dummies did not come onto the scene in the U.S. until 2011 — and even then, they weren't based on actual women but instead scaled-down male models. To make matters worse, the “female” dummies are also most commonly tested in the passenger seat. As a result, car designs are safer for men than for women.

I choose to share this disheartening reality because it helps us understand why it is important to have gender diversity in industries. Unfortunately, women are still underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields — only making up 28% of the STEM workforce in 2023. We must close this gap. Just like more women engineers could correct the way men imbue the auto industry with exclusionary designs, more women in tech can help dismantle archaic gender norms that our industry risks perpetuating and even exacerbating.

Silicon Valley has enormous power, resources and influence. We can decide how people communicate, what kind of content they consume and even what they buy. In that sense, we can determine if our world reinforces sexism or destroys it — achieving the latter is impossible without more women in our ranks. 

Evan Williamson, the co-founder of Twitter, once told Bloomberg reporter Emily Chang that if Twitter had hired more women since its early days, it probably wouldn’t have become a tool for sexual harassment and trolling. All of us in this industry should follow Williamson’s reflection, and ask ourselves what would happen if we had more women in all areas of tech, and in positions of power.

But why is it so important to have more #womenintech? I can share three reasons:

  1. More innovation. Diversity literally makes us smarter. I’ve had the privilege of living and working in many countries with people from all walks of life. These experiences have taught me how crucial and beneficial it is to collaborate with people who are different from you. They can expose you to ideas, solutions and even problems that you never would have seen otherwise. Women make up half of the world’s population and a gender gap means your team is missing out on insights that could possibly be applicable to half the planet. More women in our industry —  and women from diverse backgrounds — means that our teams, ideas and products have the best chance at delivering groundbreaking innovations that perhaps would not have reached their full potential if they were developed in silos. 
  2. Eliminating AI bias. While the widespread use of generative AI is still in its infancy stages, the time is now to involve more women in its development — so unlike with car crash dummies, it does not take decades to consider how to make this powerful technology safe for everyone. Women are key to eliminating gender bias in AI algorithms. If you want to see AI gender bias in action, just ask it to give you an image of a doctor and then one of a nurse. It will likely give you an image of a male doctor and a female nurse, even though women and men have the same potential to practice both professions. We need to eliminate these — and other biases — now, before this powerful technology is adopted en masse, and we reach a point of no return in which it is exacerbating gender bias, instead of burying it in the past.  
  3. Improving mental health. I am deeply concerned about how technology and social media negatively affect teen girls’ mental health. The algorithms for social media platforms are designed to keep users engaged, and are a key reason why images of “ideal,” yet completely unattainable beauty standards, are often promoted to young women. The consequences can be devastating, from self doubt to eating disorders, even suicide. I believe more women in the industry are key to ensuring that harmful content is not developed, help us reaffirm beauty in all its diverse forms and spare girls and young women in particular from the health problems that come with the constant bombardment of unrealistic images of what they should look like.

It took the auto industry over 60 years to even start considering how to make cars safer for women. How can our industry avoid similar mistakes? By employing, elevating and empowering more women. We must contribute to dismantling sexism within our industry and outside of it, and one key area I’m passionate about is supporting women and young girls’ who are interested in a career in tech. Organizations like Girls Who Code, Girls in Tech, AnitaB and more are leading the charge and working to bridge the gender gap in our tech industry. 

In honor of Women’s History month and the women in tech who continue to make an impact every day and for those in the future, let this be a reminder that we need more voices, greater diversity and ideas to create a world where innovation considers and improves the lives of everyone.