A Peek into Gender Equality in NZ's Tech Workforce

Updated: Jul 28

By Ruchi Bhuta, Te Hononga Akoranga - COMET intern (2022)


Achieving gender equality by 2030 is one of the main focuses of the United Nation’s Agenda for Sustainable Development. Time and time again, women are heading towards achieving this goal. They are doing this by debunking gender stereotypes and participating in sectors previously dominated by the male population.


In Aotearoa New Zealand, the dynamic tech industry is a growing industry to work in. It offers competitive salaries and various career opportunities. However, the tech industry here is male dominated, with only 23% of tech employees identifying as women in 2019.While Aotearoa is doing better than some other countries, the tech sector needs more female employees.


Data and evidence suggest that a diverse gender balance achieves better financial performance in tech firms. This gender balance could be achieved by encouraging more females to take part in STEM courses in the secondary and tertiary level of education. According to NZTech, only 36% of those enrolled in tertiary tech programs in 2021 were female.


From a psychology perspective, Bronfenbrenner’s 'Theory of Childhood Development' states that an individual’s choices are highly influenced by their environment. This ecological system theory includes stages in which an individual develops. The first stage is ‘microsystem’ which includes an individual’s immediate environment consisting of family members and caretakers. The second stage ‘mesosystem’ includes educational organization. This indicates just how heavily influenced our rangatahi are by external sources towards their future career pathways.


Exposure to the tech sector could benefit in intriguing more females to join the tech workforce. The best way to encourage our hine is to start these conversations, have a kōrero about how great a career in tech can be. Showcasing jobs that use tech and the opportunities available to them is an easy way to encourage them in the field which may feel like a mystery to them at present. Across Aotearoa, there are many great initiatives that work toward a shared kaupapa of reducing the gender divide in tech.


  • GirlBoss NZ: NZ's leading network for young women. GirlBoss NZ run an annual 'We The Women' hackfest for girls aged 17 - 25 to help encourage involvement in tech.

  • She#: A non-profit organization that aims to encourage women towards computer science, computer engineering, IT, and tech-related fields.

  • Techwomen: A group of passionate individuals working together to help inspire girls into technology, support the growth of women in tech roles and to help develop policy and actions for improving diversity in the tech workplace.


References:


Bronfenbrenner, U. (1992). Ecological systems theory. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.


Get Informed. (2020). TechWomen

https://techwomen.nz/get-informed/


Inspiring Women in Tech 2019. (2019). MYOB.

https://womenintech.myob.com/


United Nations. (2022). International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

https://www.un.org/en/observances/women-and-girls-in-science-day


Women in tech. (2021). NZTech.

https://nztech.org.nz/2018/06/13/shadowtech-wins-award-go-women-in-tech/