The gender parity gap in the tech industry is actually well documented. The study found that women hold just 22 percent of all technology jobs in European companies, and the percentage of funding raised by female teams has fallen from 3 percent to 1 percent since 2018.
The problem is pervasive across all levels of the industry, and a civic survey conducted by Web Summit in 2022 found that 67 percent of female tech workers believe pay is unfair compared to their male counterparts.
Despite this pessimism, technology also promises to be a powerful way to close the gap between the sexes.
This highly acclaimed gender economist and Global 500 executive Katica Roy is on a mission to do just that, and spoke at TNW València on March 31.
In Roy's view, this work is very relevant to her. When she returned to work after maternity leave, she herself experienced pay inequality. In response, she founded Pipeline Equity in 2017, a SaaS company that wants to improve gender equality in all sectors within the workplace.
Pipeline Equity's award-winning HR analytics platform uses AI and cloud computing to help clients put their gender equality commitments into daily action, typically increasing inclusion and equality by 70 percent in three months.
Roy said, "Interestingly, we found in our market that 96% of CEOs prioritize gender equality, but only 22% of the employee side can feel an improvement in gender equality. So there's a 74 percent gap between employers and employees, and that's what we need to address."
It is also interesting to note that Pipeline Equity found in its preliminary research that for every 10 percent improvement in cross-gender equality among 4,000 companies in 29 countries and territories, revenues increased by 1 to 2 percent. "Gender equality is not just the right thing to do, it also represents a huge economic opportunity." To be precise, this opportunity could contribute $12 trillion to global GDP.
In fact, the economic returns to gender equality are even higher than usual during economic downturns. That is, companies that put gender equality at the heart of crisis management in times of uncertainty can reap twice as much return as before.
But despite the social and economic advantages of gender equality, Roy has found that most companies suffer from two major disadvantages: a focus on planned change rather than institutional change, and a focus on "fixing" women rather than fixing institutions.
She believes that AI technology can help to progressively eliminate bias and is "critical" to human society and the global economy:
"With a system that emphasizes equity at the design level, we can truly promote equality in our lifetimes. The question is not whether we can use technology to achieve equality, but whether we have the will to do so. That goal is not far away, and we are well positioned to translate it into reality."