Why is Gender Diversity Important to the Field of Computing?

NCWIT CEO and Co-Founder Lucy Sanders answers this question, and others, on Quora: www.ncwit.org/quora!

Gender-balanced and gender-diverse technology organizations and departments: perform better financially, particularly when women occupy a significant proportion of top management positions, demonstrate superior team dynamics and productivity, produce work teams that stay on schedule and under budget, and demonstrate improved employee performance. (See “What is the Impact of Gender Diversity on Technology Business Performance? Research Summary” for a comprehensive review of current research on gender-diverse teams, including strategies to maximize the potential benefits of gender diversity on technical teams available at www.ncwit.org/businesscase.)

Gender diversity expands the qualified employee pool. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that by 2026 there will be nearly 3.5 million computing-related job openings available in the U.S. We can only fill 17 percent of those jobs with U.S. computing bachelor’s degree recipients by 2026. We are not taking advantage of our diverse population. The industry is failing to attract this talent. (See “By the Numbers” for more compelling statistics on women’s participation in computing available at www.ncwit.org/bythenumbers.)

Gender diversity also promotes equity. With technology playing an increasingly crucial role in all of our lives, having more people from different backgrounds participate in its creation can help break down gender and racial economic inequalities. Increasingly, non-IT jobs require deep knowledge of computing as well. A computing major or minor provides a versatile skill set that crosses disciplines and is essential in today’s information economy.

Additionally, gender diversity reflects the customer base. Most companies serve a variety of people, so it makes sense then to have a variety of intelligent, skilled people working on services and products.

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