Women in Tech:
What's the Real Story?

has become a widely accepted number used to describe the number of women in the tech industry…

…but at companies like

of employees are female but only

hold technical roles.

In Europe, less than 7% of tech positions are filled by women.

But wait, 28% of CS Master’s degrees go to women, so shouldn’t the number in technical roles be closer to that?

Maybe, but we have a couple of problems:

Historically, just 7% of founders accepted to seed accelerators like YC are women.

And by the mid-career mark, 72% of men stay in tech,

compared to only 44% of women.

Also, only 6% of user profiles on GitHub are female, and the numbers only get worse when you look at increasing user activity:

If we look globally, we find that women are a minority in tech leadership around the world:

Lack of diversity in leadership like this hurts everyone. When leadership is homogeneous,

less likely than straight white men to win endorsement for their ideas.

Why does it matter?

Among individuals holding professional jobs in the U.S.,

Among individuals attaining a Bachelor’s degree in the U.S.,

Gender balance makes for better teams. It’s been proven time and time again that diversity unlocks innovation and drives market growth.

Shifting from an all-male or all-female office to one split evenly along gender lines can increase revenue by 41%.

Additionally, businesses with a woman on the executive team receive valuations that are 64% larger in the first round and 49% larger in the last round.

Diverse teams consistently outperform homogeneous teams across the board.

Luckily, people are starting to speak up.

“The worst kind of group for an organization that wants to be innovative and creative is one in which everyone is alike and gets along too well.”
— Margaret A. Neale, Stanford Graduate School of Business
“Science is not a boy's game, it's not a girl's game. It's everyone's game. It's about where we are and where we're going.”
— Nichelle Nichols, former NASA Ambassador
“We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women's voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored.”
— Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
“There are lots of things I can change, but my gender is not one of them, and so it is kind of what it is. I have to lead according to my personality, according to what I think is necessary under any set of circumstances.”
— Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard
“Women are still not reaching the most senior levels of corporations. This is not the shortcoming of women. We're talented and smart.”
— Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet

So how can we close the gender gap?

No one can determine exactly why the number of women in tech is so low, but there are many ways we can work to improve gender diversity and build better teams. Here are a few:

It’s time to empower women in tech, not turn them away.

About Toptal STEM Scholarships for Women

The Toptal STEM Scholarships for Women program is open internationally to aspiring female computer scientists, software engineers, and developers. We’ll be announcing 12 winners over the course of the next year. If you win, you’ll receive $5,000 in cash to use towards your educational and professional development goals, as well as one year of weekly one-on-one mentoring with a Toptal senior developer.

Winners will gain direct access to mentorship from top developers from Toptal’s community. Check out some of their profiles below.


Google Diversity (2015)
Driving Diversity at Facebook. (2015)
Slack Releases Diversity Data. (2015)
Women computer science grads: The bump before the decline. (2015)
Harvard Business Review:
The Athena Factor: Reversing The Brain Drain In Science, Engineering, And Technology. (2008)
How Diversity Can Drive Innovation. (2013)
Is Open Source Open To Women? (2015)
Stanford Business School:
Diverse Backgrounds and Personalities Can Strengthen Groups (2006)
Workplace diversity can help the bottom line. (2014)
Founders at Work:
What Stops Female Founders? (2011)
New York Times:
In Professor’s Model, Diversity = Productivity. (2008)
Boys vs. Girls: What’s behind the college grad gender gap? (2013)