Digital Gender Divide: Examining Access and Representation of Women in Technology and STEM Fields

Although women have made significant strides towards equality in the past 100 years, a number of gaps and hurdles still. In the workplace, one of the starkest examples of gender disparity occurs within STEM fields. Only about ⅓ of the workforce in science, technology, engineering, and math fields are female. The ratios are even worse in certain specialties such as engineering and computer sciences.

It’s important to understand the causes of this gender divide. This enables leaders in STEM fields to take steps to address some of the major hurdles to closing the gap. Bringing more women into the fold can create an environment of different perspectives. Leading to more creative and innovative problem-solving.

Educational Opportunities

Perhaps one of the biggest causes of the gender divide in STEM career paths comes into play well before young women make career decisions. It starts in classrooms across the country. Young girls are systematically steered away from science and math. We typically consider STEM fields masculine. This leads some educators to unconsciously underestimate girls’ math skills and inadvertently push them away from developing the skills they need to prepare for STEM careers.

Another factor contributing to fewer young girls pursuing STEM careers is lack of role models. Limited examples of successful women in these fields can discourage girls who don’t see themselves reflected in STEM. This makes the odds of success feel insurmountable. Increasing the visibility of female role models and mentors in STEM careers can prove to be an inspiration for a whole generation of young women. 

Improving educational opportunities for girls interested in STEM fields starts with building their confidence in their capabilities relative to their male counterparts. It also involves exposing them to different career paths, role models, and opportunities, while encouraging them to continue to pursue advanced classes and education. Mentors can further help girls future-proof their STEM careers by developing their analytical skills, building a professional network throughout their careers, and investing in soft skills.

Workplace Biases

For many women, fighting through the educational barriers and developing the confidence to pursue their chosen career path is the just the first hurdle. Once they enter the workplace, most women still face daily workplace biases that can take a real toll on their mental and physical well-being. These biases manifest in several ways. Oftentimes, men are paid more than women for the same job. And we interpret projecting confidence differently between men and women.

Cultural biases also play a significant role in the workplace. For example, a staggering 81% of women in India reported experiencing gender bias in the workplace. Globally, varying degrees of the perception that women belong in the home persist. These biases create undue pressure on women to prove their worth in positions they’ve already earned.

Addressing this issue has to start with organizational leadership recognizing that there is a problem with the gender gap and culture within their organizations. From there, the implementation of policies that promote more diverse and equitable hiring practices, flexible work schedules, and bias recognition training can make a big difference. Changing work culture is not an easy task, but bringing on more new hires that represent the ideals the company is striving to achieve is one way to help fast-track the process.

New Opportunities

As technology advances at an ever-increasing pace, the number of opportunities in STEM careers continues to explode. This presents a significant opportunity for women to gain ground in the fight for greater equality in these fields. Breaking down gender stereotypes is an ongoing process, but many women are determined to persevere to ensure a future with even more opportunities for themselves and the next generation.

Renewable energies are a prime example of new technologies that offer significant opportunities for women in STEM careers. The field of renewable energy encompasses a wide range of high-powered jobs, catering to various skillsets. From hands-on roles in installation to theoretical work in engineering and design, to data-driven careers in operations and management, renewable energy offers something for everyone.

Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and big data are also creating exciting opportunities for women in STEM fields. As industry leaders develop these technologies, it’s crucial to recognize the power of diverse perspectives. After all, AI systems can be biased if trained on data that reflects a limited viewpoint – largely white and male. This can lead the technology to perpetuate those same biases.


The gender gap in STEM careers remains a major issue across all industries and globally. Addressing this disparity requires dedication from both government entities and industry leaders. They must implement policies that dismantle existing barriers and biases. A complementary strategy is to focus on building confidence in young women, empowering them to believe they can achieve anything they set their minds to.

About The Author

Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys writing about the ways technology, education, and wellness intersect and impact our everyday lives. She is frequently lost in a good book.

Photo Credit: Pixabay