It’s a well-documented fact that the tech industry has a serious gender imbalance. Despite efforts to drive young women into STEM fields and establish VC funds for female founders, women still make up just 26 percent of the computing workforce and 11 percent of tech executives at privately held venture-backed companies.

 

This is downright problematic when you consider that women make up the majority of gamers, spend the most time on social media and mobile apps, and make the most in-app purchases. When women aren’t involved in the decision-making process, companies risk missing the crucial female perspective.

Hiring women isn’t just about diversity — it’s good for the bottom line, too. Research shows that gender-diverse teams outperform male-dominated teams in terms of productivity, organizational effectiveness and financial health.

Considering these benefits, why aren’t there more women in tech?

For one thing, surviving in a fast-paced, male-dominated field as a woman requires a thick skin. When I started my career in aerospace engineering, I — like many other women — worked with men who were prone to locker room talk and inappropriate jokes. Unfortunately, innuendo and sexual harassment are still fixtures of the tech industry. In addition to blatant discrimination and harassment, women struggle to overcome the confidence gap, a lack of support from their peers, and the challenge of building a career while raising a family.

As CEO of my own company, I now have a bird’s-eye view of how these issues hold women back and what leaders can do to make the road a little smoother for the next generation of female leaders.

 

This post by Ania Rodriguez appeared first here.