Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Women in the Tech Industry

by Deyan Denchev

Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Women in the Tech Industry

The Tech industry is booming faster than Elon Musk's SpaceX rockets and is one of the most profitable industries on the planet. Unfortunately, it's been a male-dominated space since the dawn of time. In recent years, women have been breaking the glass ceiling, showing the world that they, too, can code, design, and innovate like a boss, but unfortunately, there is still a long road ahead. 

And the question is, are times changing for the better... or not? 

The stark reality of Women in Technology

Women in Tech Industry

According to data from 2022, women have a labor force participation rate of 56.8%, indicating a desire to be a part of the workforce.

Navisite's study from 2022 on women in the Tech industry has revealed that women are held to higher standards than men and are frequently tasked with administrative duties more often than their male colleagues. An overwhelming 75% of female respondents reported being asked, or seeing female colleagues asked, to handle administrative tasks such as scheduling meetings, booking rooms, and preparing refreshments. Furthermore, 86% of women stated that they had been accused of being too emotional or had their work-related behavior described with gender-charged words.

Moreover, women from marginalized groups face more obstacles in computing-related roles, where they only occupy 25% of positions between 2007 and 2020

In 2020, Women Who Tech conducted an anonymous survey of over 1,000 tech workers, entrepreneurs, and investors better to understand women's experiences in the Tech industry. The survey revealed that women of color entrepreneurs were significantly more likely to be harassed by investors than their white counterparts. Shockingly, 46% of women of color CEOs and founders who reported being harassed stated that it was by a potential investor who had intimidated them. 

The small number of women in Tech sectors means that recruiters need more talent pools to draw from. This could discourage female college students from pursuing STEM-related degrees, with 21% of computer science, 24% of engineering, and 24% of physics degrees awarded to women

Currently, only 23% of the labor force in the US comprises women working in tech positions, which amounts to about 3.7 million. Meanwhile, women working in Tech in Europe represent approximately 19.1% of the ICT labor force, which accounts for around 1.7 million women, reports WomenTech Network

Mind the 'pay' gap

The pay gap between women and men persists, with women earning only 82 percent of men's salaries in 2022. This discrepancy may be due to women and men choosing different career paths, but it could also indicate that women are paid less for doing similar work as their male colleagues. This undervaluing of women's work is problematic and could lead to difficulties for women trying to survive in tech industries without fair and livable wages.

A survey conducted by Web Summit in 2022 revealed that more than two-thirds of women working in the tech industry believe they receive lower pay than their male counterparts. While a vast majority of the respondents (92%) expressed confidence in their ability to perform assigned tasks, 70% felt they had to work harder to establish themselves in their roles because of their gender.

Research by an MIT Sloan professor revealed that men are more likely to be promoted than women by a margin of 14 percent. This finding accentuates the prevailing notion that women are often neglected regarding higher-level job opportunities, ultimately impeding their professional advancement and restricting their career prospects.

Despite companies attempting to close the pay gap between men and women, women of color may be overlooked in these efforts. Black and Hispanic women earn the least among women in STEM fields, as per a 2021 Pew Research Center study.

Women in Tech face a higher risk of being laid off than their male colleagues, making it more challenging to maintain high-performance levels. The frequent loss of female coworkers also deprives women in Tech of the opportunity to establish close bonds with one another and expand their professional networks.

The Double Shift 

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted women in Tech, particularly in terms of their work-life balance, job security, and career advancement.

Even before the pandemic, women in the Tech industry were already feeling the impact of burnout more than their male counterparts, with 68% reporting burnout compared to 58% of men. With the onset of government-mandated shelter-at-home measures, burnout increased even more among women, with 69% experiencing it. The pandemic also resulted in a staggering number of working parents leaving the workforce, with 75% of those being women, translating to over one million individuals.

For women in Tech, the challenges were particularly acute. A study found that 54% of women in Tech found it challenging to retain their jobs, with most of them having to shoulder the bulk of housework and homeschooling their children. In August and September of 2020, the number of women quitting their jobs was nearly four times higher than that of men, with 865,000 women leaving compared to only 216,000 men.

While many women felt their careers were stalled due to COVID-19 (47%), some found working remotely more productive. In fact, since March 2020, 95% of women in Tech have been working part-time remotely, and 16.7% of companies have made remote work a permanent option. For 34% of women surveyed, remote work was preferable to on-site work, allowing for more flexibility. Additionally, some women (46%) believe remote work has increased gender representation in the Tech workforce.

Diversity is the key?

A 2020 report from McKinsey indicated that companies with a higher proportion of women on their executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability. Additionally, the study found that companies with more than 30% women executives were more likely to surpass those with only 10-30% women executives. The report also demonstrated that companies with greater gender diversity in their workforce outperformed those with lower variety by up to 48% in work performance.

Gender-diverse teams are better at making business decisions 73% of the time. However, despite the clear benefits of gender diversity in leadership and groups, the representation of women in top leadership positions remains low. In 2020, out of all Fortune 500 companies, only 37 women held CEO positions.

These results emphasize the significance of promoting greater gender diversity in leadership positions and teams to enhance profitability, performance, and decision-making. Companies must consciously address gender inequality and ensure that all employees have equal opportunities to succeed, irrespective of gender.

Time for a change?

The proportion of women hired for leadership roles worldwide increased from 33.3 percent in 2016 to 36.9 percent in 2022. Although the difference may seem marginal, this statistic demonstrates that women are demolishing gender biases, unfair expectations, and limited company support to reach the highest levels of the tech industry and other sectors.

Research across 50 countries shows that women accounted for two out of every five early-stage entrepreneurs. While men still outnumber women in business ownership and entrepreneurship, this finding reaffirms that the number of women entrepreneurs is increasing globally.


Despite the progress, the tech world remains a tough nut to crack for women, making it close to searching for a needle in a haystack to find more 'positive' statistics rather than 'negatively realistic' about them.

Tech women unquestionably have come a long way but breaking through that glass ceiling in the industry is still an ongoing struggle.

Deyan Denchev

CEO/Founder at Lexis Solutions

Deyan Denchev is an accomplished software developer, CEO, and Founder of Lexis Solutions, a leading technology partner for businesses in North America and Europe. With a wealth of experience in software development and a relentless passion for innovation, Deyan has played a pivotal role in propelling Lexis Solutions to its position as a premier technology provider.