Women in Tech: Female Lions Don’t Hunt

August 25, 2020
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Female lions don’t hunt, goldfish can’t remember anything for longer than a second and bats are blind. How many of these “facts” do you think are true? One – Two or perhaps all three? Unsurprisingly, our lives are littered with interesting facts that influence the way we think, communicate and behave. We might say “you’re as blind as a bat” or “you’ve got a memory like a fish” and not give either of these sayings a second thought. We start to believe these as undisputed truths. Women don’t do tech; or so we believe.

Female lions, in fact, do 90% of all the hunting within their pride. They cooperate, communicate and hunt in teams to bring the food back to their pride; feeding the dominant male lions first. Lionesses can also run faster than lions and have a much better conversion rate when hunting. This might contradict what we first think, as the presumption is that the king of the jungle is well just that, king of the jungle.

Women don’t do tech. They aren’t interested or are simply no good at it.  This myth has started to be believed as an undisputed fact. There has been so much research done around the lack of women in tech that some believe that women don’t exist in the sector at all. However, although this isn’t true, in reality numbers aren’t great. There are currently only 17% of IT specialists reported to be women.

Getting into tech for girls is tricky from the start. From the early years of choosing a “boys’” subject, being part of the 10% in a university computer science class or bagging that first job. Only 3% of women consider the technology sector as their first choice career. Interestingly, to top this off, AI recruiting technology has been trained on men’s CVs, so getting selected in the first place is a miracle.

Speaking to many women over the years around how they first entered the sector, stories are varied and often non-linear; “I fell into by accident”, “I started as a marketer and found I was actually good at it, I became the go-to person for solving problems”, “I was the family technician, mending everything software and hardware related- always told I should charge for it – although it was made clear they didn’t mean themselves!”.

It seems many women drift into tech and find out by accident that they are good at something they never imagined was for them. In a recent study, just 16% of females had a tech career suggested to them by careers services as compared to 33% of males. We’ve really got to start asking ourselves why this is the case. If “women don’t do tech” is at the core of how we think, feel and behave, it is no surprise this myth is perpetuated.

Annie Easley, Karen Spärck Jones and Joan Ball are some of the lesser-known trailblazers alongside the better known Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, Joan Clarke or the women of ENIAC. All pioneers, all women. Women not only do tech; they’re great at it!

In case you were wondering, bats can see quite well, even though they use sound to guide them. Goldfish have very good memories and even more interestingly, women are great at tech.

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