Women, Technology, and the Epidemic of “Mansplaining”

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It’s no secret that women have worked tremendously hard over the years to get on an even playing field with their male counterparts. But it seems that work still isn’t enough. Whether it’s with promotions, compensation, or just being viewed as an equal, it seems as though we are constantly struggling. When it comes to the technology field, a new study finds the struggle is real and as tough as ever.

A recent survey released by CloudNow finds that women in the tech sector are still facing too much sexism for the year 2016. Nearly one-third of women surveyed believe they’ve been excluded from key opportunities just because they’re female. One-quarter feel their company does not value the contributions of women. These staggering statistics lead one to question when it will ever get better.

The situation can’t and won’t get better until several things stop, one of which is the epidemic of “mansplaining”. Mansplaining is when men unnecessarily over-explain concepts to women in a patronizing way. Twenty-five percent of women working in technology say they witness this regularly. Among women in management roles, the number is even higher at one-third. This environment will forever serve as a barrier for women in technology and any other area as long as “mansplaining” continues. While men in technology are talking down to women, they are also excluding them from after-hours social gatherings. We all know many times co-workers get together after hours. This can help with team-building and just getting to know one another better. Many times with this comes a better working environment. But, 38% of women surveyed say they are excluded from off-hours social activities with upper management. This “boys only” mentality only contributes to the problems many women say they are facing. 

Not only are women in the technology industry dealing with “mansplaining” and discrimination, they also report dealing with harassment. Nearly a quarter of women in the technology industry who were surveyed say they have definitely been harassed at work. Of the 19% who say they probably have been harassed, 56% say it was by their peers, while 44% report harassing activity from their direct managers. If managers are supposed to be leading by example, this is a poor way to show co-workers how to treat one another.

Perhaps the way to end the cycle is to introduce more women to the technology field. Right now, only 27 percent of upper management in tech companies is made up of women. Nearly half of women surveyed cite the lack of role models. One way to get more women interested is to inspire our daughters and other young women in the field. This is not to say we need to force it on them. Rather, we need to expose them to the tech field and introduce them to the possibilities. By doing this we can ensure more women will enter the technology sector and end the epidemic of “mansplaining” and all the negative things that come along with it. Then perhaps only then will studies like this begin to show women getting the fair and equal treatment they deserve. Do women need to “mansplain” that? Everyone should understand and respect the concept of equality and fairness.