The following post appeared on the Philadelphia HUG blog, where I have been writing most recently.
Women’s History Month elevates the entrepreneurial contributions of half our population for 30 days. As a male ally, I believe it is also an opportunity to initiate meaningful action around diversity that lasts all year.
Female inventors have transformed our world and sadly most of us scarcely noticed. Marie Curie was the first person to win two Nobel prizes for discovering radioactivity with her husband (1903) and two new elements (1911). Grace Hopper invented one of the first computer language translators and popularized the term debugging. Rosalind Franklin, a British scientist, was part of the team that discovered DNA.
According to a 2015 Department of Labor issue brief, American women represent approximately 47% of the workforce.
Among unemployed women, African American women are the hardest hit and face the longest time out of work. Women in this group, have a 70% higher unemployment rate compared to the national average (8.9% vs 5.2%). Similarly, median time out of work was 14 weeks, which is about 40% longer than their Asian and White female counterparts.
In technology fields, the 80-20 distribution applies to executives. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Diversity in High Tech special report found that women account for 20% of technology executives.
The private sector is more meritocratic than “high tech” jobs as female executives represent 29% of senior leaders. This disparity is most acute at some of the top technology companies, as this uncharacteristically informal paragraph from the EEOC indicates:
“At Google, women make up 30 percent of the company’s overall workforce, but hold only 17 percent of the company’s tech jobs. At Facebook, 15 percent of tech roles are staffed by women. At Twitter, it’s a laughable 10 percent. For non-technical jobs at Twitter (think marketing, HR, sales), the gender split is 50-50.”
Women’s History Month is a great opportunity to celebrate the overlooked contributions from half of the population. Americans may disagree about politics, marketers may debate strategy, but one thing is clear.
When it comes to diversifying our executive roles and giving women greater access to the workforce, there is plenty of room to improve as women disproportionately underrepresented.
How can women and non-white marketing professionals make their qualifications pop? HubSpot’s free certifications are one of several courses that will show you professional growth and underscore your leadership potential to employers.
On that note, you may want to get started!