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Creating global equity for women in tech through mentorship

Updated: May 27


Women working in an office from different backgro culturalunds

Mentorship provides solutions for professionals of all backgrounds, career levels, and in any industry to propel their growth and achieve their goals. For women in tech, mentorship provides essential solutions to achieve equity and overcome challenges unique to them and the industry. In this article, we’ll review: Women in tech: the big picture

Women in tech: the big picture

Though there may be more women in tech today than in previous decades, the ratio of women to men working in technology is lower than it was almost 35 years ago. According to CompTIA’s 2023 State of the Tech Workforce report, that same year, women occupied 26% of the tech labor force (Source). In 1990, however, 35% of tech workers were women according to a report from the American Association of University Women (Source).

Graph with data about womenvs men in tech

Unfortunately, the percentage of women working in tech decreases as career level rises (Source). In 2024, only 14% of tech leaders were women (Source), and only 2 of the largest 50 tech companies have female CEOs as of March 2024 (Source).

Women working in startups, whether as founders, CEOs, or serving on a board of directors, also face unique obstacles. According to a study by Silicon Valley Bank, 25% of startups have women founders, 37% of startups have at least one woman on the board of directors, and 53% of startups have at least one woman in an executive position (Source).

On the positive side, however, startups with at least one female founder are also more likely to have women in executive roles – 50% had a female CEO compared to just 5% for companies without women founders (Source).


But, overall, data from McKinsey & Company and Lean In’s Women in the Workplace 2023 report, the percentage of women in tech decreases with career progression.


Percentage of Women in Tech by Career Level

Role

Tech Hardware

Tech Software

Entry-level

32%

43%

Managerial roles

27%

38%

Senior Manager/Director

23%

37%

VP Level

17%

36%

C-Suite Level

24%

30%

Women in tech: by region


United States and Canada

 In the United States, women make up nearly half of the workforce (49%), though only 26% of tech workers (Source). Percentages vary by location, however, with some cities and states showing slightly higher representation of women working in tech compared to the national averages.


U.S. States with Highest % of Women In Tech

State / District

Women in Tech

Women in Total Workforce

District of Columbia

31%

53%

Mississippi

30%

50%

Maine

30%

49%

South Carolina

29%

50%

In Canada, the percentage of women working in tech is slightly smaller than in the U.S.; 23% of Canadians working in science and technology are women (Source). But, because 34% of Canadians with a STEM degree are women – we can observe that not all women in STEM are using their education in roles directly related to their field of study, perhaps because of significant barriers to entry (Source).


Women in Canada, like many places throughout the globe, are also less represented in tech in management and executive level roles. In fact, only 15% of the total of managerial roles in are held by Canadian women (Source).


Latin America

In Latin America (LATAM), 45% of researchers are women, with 36% specializing in STEM fields. In tech, specifically, the compound annual growth rate for women working in the industry is a promising 10% (Source). Since 2017, the number of women in tech has doubled overall, with Mexico and Brazil leading in growth (Source).

 

In Mexico, women made up 38.47% of the workforce in tech, and 40% of women tech workers have more than 11 years of industry experience (Source). To help support more growth, the Mexican government created 120 tuition-free universities to help women in tech, projecting 71,000 graduates by 2025 (Source).

 

European Union

In the European Union, more than half (52%) of the workforce in STEM fields is made up of women, according to Eurostat (Source). McKinsey & Company reports that European women in tech were most represented in product design and management roles in 2022, making up 46% of the labor force (Source). They also have a notable presence in data engineering, science, and analytics roles, constituting 30% of these positions. However, their representation was lower in DevOps and cloud roles (8%) and in operations jobs (15%) (Source).

 

Women’s participation in Europe’s tech sector varies by country. Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, and Latvia are the four countries in Europe with the highest percentages of female tech workers, ranging from 24.87% in Latvia to 30.28% in Bulgaria (Source).

 

Africa and the Middle East

Women make up 30% of tech workers in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the United Nations Development program (Source). In 2023, Women composed 20% of the tech work-force in the Middle East and Africa (Source). Some regions have high percentages of female representation: in Sub-Saharan Africa, women make up 30%, according to the United Nations Development program (Source).


Pay gaps still create significant challenges for women in the Middle East and Africa, however. In South Africa, for example, women developers earned 17% than then in the same roles (Source). Surprisingly, the amount of experience women tech workers have did not reduce the pay gap in South Africa among this demographic: among developers with more than 10 years of experience, women earned 17.4% (Source).


Asia and Oceania

As the world’s most populous region, statistics regarding women in the tech industry throughout Asia and Oceania vary widely, though overall, the numbers indicate encouraging and rapid growth.


In East Asia, 30% of developers were women in 2023, up double from 2021 (Source). In India, in 2023, women made up 29% of the tech workforce (Source). In leadership roles, however, women are significantly underrepresented: only 8% of tech leadership roles in Asia are held by women (Source).


Australia

The Australian Computer Society's 2021 Digital Pulse  reports that women make up29% of the tech workforce in Australia (Source). In Australia, tech companies in the “information media and telecommunications” sector have a 22.5% median salary gap and a 24% remuneration gap. Meanwhile, iwthe “professional, scientific and technical services” sector faces a wider 26% remuneration gap and 25% base salary gap (Workplace Gender Equality Agency, 2024).


Putting the Numbers Together

To overcome persistent, systematic barriers in the tech sector, women must make their own solutions. But, not everyone has access to costly coachings, training programs, advanced education, and other opportunities to develop the essential skills needed in order to advance your career.

 

When we look at data across different regions around the world regarding women working in tech, the solution is simple: create global connections to solve global problems. By creating a supportive network through mentorship to connect globally to share resources, knowledge, industry insights, professional connections, and more – women in tech can work towards achieving equity.

 

As mentors, women who have already excelled in particular roles or subsectors of tech – in spite of the many obstacles they face – have the opportunity not only to lead by example, but to directly help cultivate the next generation of leaders. Mentees can actively see the exact guidance they need to advance their careers – or even to grow personally.

 

Looking at the data, we can find many opportunities for women in tech worldwide to maximize their personal and professional development by seeking mentorship, or to contribute to an ecosystem of support and leadership development as a mentor.

 

Here are just a few examples of how mentorship can create equity for women in tech.

 

Mentorship can directly help women upskill, navigate job transitions, or achieve the career growth they desire, particularly in some tech sub industries – no matter where the mentor or mentee may be located. 

 

For example, in 2023, 23% of developers were women worldwide, compared to 19% in 2021 (Source). Growth in Asia, as seen above, has doubled in the same period, and women in Asia constitute a higher percentage of developers than in other regions, at 30%. A junior developer in Europe who lacks the resources to advance their career can identify knowledge gaps and determine actionable steps to fill them with a mentor – who could, perhaps, be located in Asia.

 

Likewise, Sub-Saharan Africa has a higher percentage of women working in tech than the United States. While tech workers may think to seek mentorship within their own country, or hyperlocally, within their own city – access to a global network could help connect a developer in New Orleans with a mentor in Nairobi who can help them achieve short-term and long-term goals.

 

Mentorship can also help guide workers interested in making moves from smaller to enterprise level organizations, especially women who are just starting in tech. Statistically, younger women in tech are more likely to work for smaller tech companies, while older women are more likely to work for organizations with 10,000 or more employees (Source).

Women founders and leaders in tech can also benefit tremendously by connecting with a global mentorship network.For example, according to Startup Genome, 15% of tech startup founders were women from 2016 – 2022, with percentages varying regionally. Oceania has the highest percentage of women leading tech start-ups, with 21.6%, while the Middle-East and North Africa have the lowest, at 10.1%. Brisane and Manila have particularly high participation rates with over 50% of startups claiming one or more women founders.

 

Mentorship could provide solutions for women in regions such as the Middle-East and North Africa who may have the skills to start their own company, but lack the mentorship to help make their vision a reality. A mentor from Brisbane could help a mentee in Dubai not only launch their company, but achieve continued success and growth.


Connect Globally with Upnotch™

Upnotch™ is a global mentorship platform for leaders and aspiring leaders. To be as accessible as possible for those who can benefit from mentorship most, Upnotch™ is completely free for individuals.

 

Only 16% of women receive sponsorship/mentorship they need, compared to 23% of men, and only 22% of women receive useful feedback compared to 31% of men, according to the Women in the Workplace 2023 report from McKinsey (Source). 

The numbers show that women in tech face unique obstacles, in addition to pain points women experience across all industries. They also show that connecting globally through mentorship can proactive, cost-free alternatives to experience trainings, coachings, courses, or even degrees. While of course everyone should explore every avenue accessible to them in their path to achieving their goals, not everyone has access to these resources.

 

Upnotch™ members can match with the ideal mentor or mentee using the platform’s self-search function, which includes the ability to filter by location, industry, role, gender identity, other affinity groups, and more. Members can use AI to generate perfect mentor-mentee pairings, or contact Upnotch™ to make recommendations about the connections which have the highest potential to benefit both the mentor and the mentee most.

 

A woman developer in Atlanta, for example, might only be lacking the advice and industry insights of a mentor in order to land their next promotion. And, if she is just entering the field, she may not know exactly where to look, who to turn to, or who even might be willing to guide her. 

 

Upnotch™ has a global roster of mentors who are excited to share their time, knowledge, and experience with others in order to create ripple effects in their industries and beyond. In a few taps on any device, she can search for a mentor with the exact insights and skills she needs to help achieve her goals.

 

Members can also join communities on Upnotch™ or create their own in order to connect with the people with similar backgrounds, interests, and goals. One of the most popular and fastest growing communities on Upnotch™ is Women in Tech, which includes free, regular speed mentoring events which almost always reach maximum capacity.

 

We can close the gender gap in tech and achieve global equity using the power of mentorship as a proactive solution. Join Upnotch™ today to share knowledge, help each other grow, and create equity in tech and beyond.



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