As a C Coach, Kathy Levinson provides mentoring and coaching to female entrepreneurs, non-profit executives and corporate leaders. A former president & COO of E*TRADE Financial and advisory member of tech VC-firm Illuminate Ventures, Kathy Levinson supports women in technology through organizations such as Lesbians Who Tech.
The benefits of gender diversity in both the work force and in the boardroom have an economic impact, not just an ethical one. Numerous studies by firms such as McKinsey, Morgan Stanley, and Credit Suisse Research Institute have consistently reported that gender diversity in work teams leads to increased revenues, profits, market share, and collective intelligence.
Unfortunately, while more businesses are placing a strong focus on gender diversity, the tech industry has been recording a 20-year-long decline in the number of participating women. The problem is linear, starting from college and leading all the way to the job market.
While the percentage of women attending college is higher than that of men, over the last two decades the percentage of computer science degrees awarded to women has fallen to 18 percent from 37 percent. Of the women who eventually enter the private workforce, 56 percent leave while at mid-level positions. As a result, the number of women in the US IT workforce declined from 37 percent in 1996 to 25 percent in 2010.
The tech job market is growing rapidly and it is estimated that by 2018 there will be a significant shortage in qualified tech talent. Unless a greater effort is invested in encouraging women to enter the tech world, women will continue to miss out on these significant career opportunities.