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Not Just a Statistic: Women in Data Science

As you look around in our society today, one thing is clear — technology is king and data science and analytics are the building blocks of the majority of modern industry. And with that comes all sorts of tech-related jobs and new industries to support all of our advances. Given that, it is no surprise that there are literally hundreds of job openings for positions that require some level of tech skills and experience. 

Unfortunately, data science and other tech-based positions are far from gender equal. In fact, the field is dominated by men. The data science career path impacts nearly all other industries – not just IT fields — meaning that women within data sciences can have a profound impact across nearly every aspect of our economy and culture.

Exploring the Diversity Gap

With as many jobs as exist in data science across the board, you may find yourself wondering where are all the women? Many experts believe that the diversity gap begins as early as grade school where women may not receive the same level of encouragement and support in STEM subjects as their male counterparts.

Fortunately, this is beginning to change. More and more schools are making efforts to de-stigmatize STEM fields for women and encourage long-term participation. Women-focused tech programs are cropping up that aim to help women develop the skills that will help them break into tech fields, especially data science.

Women in Health Tech

One example of a tech field that women stand to make a big difference in is healthcare. Healthcare isn’t exactly a field that many people think of when they think of data science, but surprisingly, tech is a growing aspect of the industry. Big data is turning into one of the more powerful tools for predicting health outcomes and keeping people healthy on the horizon.

Of course, there are those who fear that the promise of health care advances can blind us to the basic dangers that come along with it. Big data is one example, stem cell therapy is another, but there are hundreds more. The benefit of women trained in tech fields to help monitor and move along the transition of healthcare into a tech world is incredibly beneficial.

Benefiting Women Indirectly

Beyond the direct benefit of increasing the number of women in data science and other tech fields, the growth of technology also stands to benefit women in all sorts of other ways. For instance, technological advances and data-driven solutions are already working to address the wage gap between genders for similar positions.

Data science and other technologies are also helping women-owned businesses grow across the globe. Tech solutions have provided more access to learning and business management opportunities for women, and e-services have made it easier than ever to connect into a global marketplace. Finally, the data behind smart devices has made it easy to make and receive payments as well as get the word out through cheap and easy marketing strategies.

Women are generally underrepresented in data science and other tech fields. Fortunately, there are efforts to increase female representation as women have a profound role to play in nearly every data-influenced field. Advancements in data science and other technologies are also having major impacts on women indirectly such as through the growth of women-owned businesses and working to eliminate the gender pay gap.

About the Author

Magnolia Potter is a muggle from the Pacific Northwest who writes from time to time. She covers a variety of topics and prefers not to settle on just one. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her in the outdoors or curled up with a good book and a mug of butterbeer. She is still waiting for her Hogwarts acceptance letter. You can chat with her on Twitter @MuggleMagnolia.

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  1. Mike Stop Continues says:

    Magnolia, I highly recommend you read The Wage Gap, The Blank Slate, Human Diversity, and/or Warriors and Worriers. Each of these books (and many others) address the scientific consensus around sex differences and the effect those modest differences have in the aggregate in STEM fields. I believe (and the data support) women are too strong to be socialized into a profession they don’t want. In fact, they are so strong that they will often choose people-related professions even when they have the brains and the freedom and the encouragement to go into things-related professions like tech. We do women a disservice when we consider them incapable of choosing the life they want for themselves.

  2. I believe that one day we will reach such a stage of civilization development that gender at work will not matter. The most competent people with the most skills and experience should be selected for a given position – not a man or a woman. And regardless of the industry or the position itself. I hope that this type of balance will also reach the IT industry. I am from Poland and here most programmers, IT specialists or DBAs are men. In recent years I have seen more and more women in important positions in the industry but they are still in a significant minority. Maybe it will change someday.

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