Women in data science: what developments do we see?
As you look around in our society today, one thing is clear: technology is king and data science and analytics are the building blocks of the majority of modern industry. And with that comes all sorts of tech-related jobs and new industries to support all of our advances. Given that, it is no surprise that there are literally hundreds of job openings for positions that require some level of tech skills and experience.
Unfortunately, data science and other tech-based positions are far from gender equal. In fact, the field is dominated by men. The data science career path impacts nearly all other industries, not just IT fields, meaning that women within data sciences can have a profound impact across nearly every aspect of our economy and culture.
Exploring the diversity gap
With as many jobs as exist in data science across the board, you may find yourself wondering where are all the women? Many experts believe that the diversity gap begins as early as grade school where women may not receive the same level of encouragement and support in STEM subjects as their male counterparts.
Fortunately, this is beginning to change. More and more schools are making efforts to de-stigmatize STEM fields for women and encourage long-term participation. Women-focused tech programs are cropping up that aim to help women develop the skills that will help them break into tech fields, especially data science.
Women in health tech
One example of a tech field that women stand to make a big difference in is healthcare. Healthcare isn’t exactly a field that many people think of when they think of data science, but surprisingly, tech is a growing aspect of the industry. Big data is turning into one of the more powerful tools for predicting health outcomes and keeping people healthy on the horizon.
Of course, there are those who fear that the promise of health care advances can blind us to the basic dangers that come along with it. Big data is one example, stem cell therapy is another, but there are hundreds more. The benefit of women trained in tech fields to help monitor and move along the transition of healthcare into a tech world is incredibly beneficial.
Benefiting women indirectly
Beyond the direct benefit of increasing the number of women in data science and other tech fields, the growth of technology also stands to benefit women in all sorts of other ways. For instance, technological advances and data-driven solutions are already working to address the wage gap between genders for similar positions.
Data science and other technologies are also helping women-owned businesses grow across the globe. Tech solutions have provided more access to learning and business management opportunities for women, and e-services have made it easier than ever to connect into a global marketplace. Finally, the data behind smart devices has made it easy to make and receive payments as well as get the word out through cheap and easy marketing strategies.
Women are generally underrepresented in data science and other tech fields. Fortunately, there are efforts to increase female representation as women have a profound role to play in nearly every data-influenced field. Advancements in data science and other technologies are also having major impacts on women indirectly such as through the growth of women-owned businesses and working to eliminate the gender pay gap.
Author: Magnolia Potter