The Russian Revolution of Women in Tech
26 April 2017

In 2017, technology is the binding agent in the multi-tiered cake of humanity, balancing the flours and frosting of modern communication and innovation. Its universal quality can be found buzzing on our bedside tables through the form of our trusty iPhone alarm, awaking us for that much dreaded Monday morning meeting, to appearing on our wrists in the shape of our shiny Fit Bit, encouraging our half marathon training.

We recently discussed the revelations surrounding robots in the workplace and the significance of technological advancements. Since the tech industry dominates our working, social and leisure activities, it’s disappointing to find that the majority of tech related roles are filled by men, and regarded as an unsuitable career for women.

The BBC claims that a new study from Microsoft unearths the truth of women in engineering and technology, that being gender stereotypes mould women’s career choices from a young age, as well as lack of female role models and peer pressure. In the UK in recent years, there’s been much debate and outrage expressed on social media regarding the policing of women’s appearance in the workplace, namely the studies that claim that women feel enormous pressure to appear attractive at work and that women who wear make up are perceived to be more competent and professional than women who choose not to.

There have also been a number of cases in which women have been sent home or even let go for not wearing heels, something to which the government has recently responded. In comparison, men experience little to no pressure in the workplace concerning their dress and do not regard their appearance as being integral to successfully doing their job. These discriminations are just some of the difficulties faced by women in their working lives in the UK; something that MPs say must be addressed.

Microsoft says that Russia, however, actively encourages its women and girls to nurture an interest in tech, maths and engineering, paving the way for gender equality in the tech industry and re-writing the potential of women in the working world. In comparison to British teenagers, who are found to have an aversion to STEM subjects based on finding them tedious, irrelevant or overtly male, Russia’s girls are challenged with calculation and problem solving from an early age by parents and teachers. They are actively pushed to pursue careers in the tech, science and IT fields, their abilities regarded with the same judgment as their male counterparts.

But why is Russia at the forefront of gender equality in these fields? The BBC spoke to Olga Reznikova who believes that Russian women are more assured in their right to a STEM education and more fiercely competitive than male students, perhaps due to their ability to persevere due to support from parents and the education system. 

This attitude towards gender and STEM subjects is admirable and essential to building a workforce that embraces diversity and operates based on ability and qualification rather than gender. In order to rectify the gender imbalance in the tech field the UK, companies must put diversity policies in place, educate their employees on sexism and relationships in the workplace, and refuse to discriminate against a candidate because they are a woman or they identify as female.

Are you a woman in tech? Drop us a line over on Facebook or Twitter and let us know how you got interested in your field. If you’re a woman looking for a top-notch role in tech, head over to our current vacancies.