Recognizing challenges for women in tech
Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th every year, and it’s a day when we come together to celebrate the progress that women have made in society and recognise the challenges that still lie ahead.
It’s true that we have a lot to be proud of when it comes to women’s progress in the workplace. Women have broken the glass ceiling in many industries, and we now have more female leaders than ever before. However, it’s also true that there is still much work to be done.
“Nice” girls and “tough” boys?
Despite the progress we’ve made, there is still a gender gap in many industries, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
For example, our software and hardware engineering positions have only about 11% female representation. Similarly, the share of female students in the science and tech fields in Norway has only increased from about 30% to approximately 35% from 2001 to 2021*. These statistics beg the question: Why is the gender gap still present in these industries?
One possible explanation for the gender gap is the societal norms that still shape our upbringing. These norms could be discouraging girls from pursuing careers in science/tech fields and perpetuate gender stereotypes. While many of us might not explicitly teach girls to play with dolls and boys to play with cars, the statistics above show that there is still something pushing more men than women into the science and tech fields.
Breaking free from the stereotypes
Luckily, there are many who deviate from the stereotypes, and some of them have found their way to Easee. Mechanical Design Engineer Emma Xia is one of them.
– As a child, I played with all kinds of toys, and loved to be high up in places where I could get a broad view of my surroundings. My sister and I would for example climb on to the roof to enjoy the view. My mother spent quite a lot of time convincing me to play on the ground.
She explains that mechanical engineering was a good match with her interests. – I was good at math and physics in school, and I like design. I don’t really pay much attention to the fact that I work with a lot of men. I’m an outgoing person and they treat me the same as they treat any colleague, so I don’t mind.
How Easee contributes to change
As employers, we believe we can take steps to address this gender gap. At Easee, we are proud to participate in Girls and Technology, a national project that works to increase the proportion of women in technology education. This project allows girls and young women to meet role models who can talk about their education or work in science or technology.
Since 2016, they have travelled on a national tour and met thousands of young girls. Last quarter, we hosted an event with nearly 100 girls from upper secondary school in Stavanger who were curious about Easee and what life in tech is all about. This year we are planning a new event to further promote technology and work towards more girls choosing tech as their way into working life.
Easee also participates in the United Nations’ Target Gender Equality initiative to set and reach ambitious targets for women representation and leadership in business. As part of this initiative, we have participated in workshops and gatherings, and we have started a mapping in our own organization to identify areas where we can improve further.
There are other steps we can take to promote gender equality in the workplace as well. For example, we can ensure that our job descriptions and requirements are gender-neutral, so that we do not inadvertently exclude qualified candidates. We can also encourage diversity in our recruitment process and training programs. Finally, we can ensure that our workplace policies and practices are inclusive and equitable for all employees, regardless of gender.
Let’s break through the glass ceiling together
On this International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate the progress that women have made and recognize the challenges that still lie ahead. We want to encourage young girls to pursue their dreams and to remind them that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. We want to urge employers to take steps to address the gender gap in their industries and to create more inclusive and equitable workplaces for all employees. We believe that by working together, we can create the future of business culture.
* Selection – Students 2001-2021; Both genders – Male and Female; Fields of Study – Naturvitenskapelige fag, håndverksfag og mekaniske fag [Science subjects, craft subjects and mechanical subjects].