Innovation Lightbulb: Gender Gaps in the High-Tech Sector

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Graph of gender disparities

Source: Equal Opportunity Employment Commission

The inaugural Innovation Lightbulb newsletter discusses the ongoing gender disparity in the high-tech industry. According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, there are significantly less women in the high-tech industry across all levels from technicians to professionals to senior executives. Across a 6-year timespan from 2014 to 2020, these gaps have either decreased negligibly or, in the case of senior executives and managers, increased.

Diversity in the tech industry is critical for innovation. The number of women in the scientific and technical industry has been growing over time, but without more women, the industry is missing out on a valuable pool of talent that can bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. Not only is the high-tech industry missing out on an under-tapped talent pool, but greater inclusion has been associated with greater profit in knowledge-intensive industries. A 2020 Citigroup report estimated that including more women and Black Americans in the initial stages of innovation could increase U.S. GDP by as much as $640 billion. Furthermore, a Harvard Business Review study found that when firms integrated women into leadership roles, they were more likely to be more profitable and open to change. 

Having more women not only in the high-tech industry but also in leadership positions can create a more inclusive and equitable workplace culture. Women in leadership can serve as role models and mentors for other women in the industry, helping to break down barriers and inspire the next generation of female tech leaders. 

The gender disparity in the tech industry is a problem that needs to be addressed. By creating a more diverse and inclusive industry, we can foster innovation, improve financial performance, and inspire the next generation of female tech leaders in the United States.

Data source(s): Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, "Special Report: Diversity in High-Tech." (LINK) ; Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, "Job Patterns for Minorities and Women in Private Industry (EEO-1)." (LINK)

Data visualization by Jaehyun Han

Srishti Khemka

Research Intern, Renewing American Innovation Project