The Women-In-Tech Problem In One Single Graph

Photo: Courtesy Stack Overflow.
"Women in tech" is a hot topic right now. Despite the outcome of the case, the recent Ellen Pao trial in San Francisco raised awareness of problems such as gender discrimination and subtle sexism in the workplace. These issues, and others, are seen as reasons why women get pushed out of the "boys club" of Silicon Valley software engineering and venture capital. But is the situation really that dire? According to statistics from Stack Overflow, yes they are.

The 45-question survey polled 26,086 developers from 157 countries. Of those participants, over 92 percent of respondents were men. Less than 8 percent were women.

First, let's look at the male-to-female ratio in other industries for comparison. In PR, women make up two thirds of the field. Women make up around one third of those in the the legal profession, according to a 2013 poll by the American Bar Association. And journalism is similar: It's 63 percent male, according to a Women's Media Center study published in 2014. In the medical field, around 30% of practitioners are now women, with a closer to 50/50 ratio among medical students and residents. 

Now, bear in mind that the actual numbers, particularly in the U.S., may not be quite as lopsided as the Stack Overflow survey suggests. Its scope was global and only included software developers, rather than taking into account other professions in the tech industry.

The full survey has a number of other interesting stats, as well. For example, 62 percent of developers are under 30, and 37 percent of women who code have less than two years of experience, while the majority of male coders (31 percent) have two to five years of experience. The latter stat — that a smaller percentage of women have been coding for many years — could be a result of biases pushing women out of STEM careers, or a result of computer science dropping in popularity as a major among female college students beginning in the late '80s. Enrollment numbers are now starting to rise again

Another surprising stat: Developers in India are three times more likely to be female than in the U.S.

For the full survey findings, head here
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Photo: Courtesy Stack Overflow.
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