January 4, 2019
2018 was a year filled with headlines about women in the technology industry.
Stories such as the launch of All Raise, Sheryl Sandberg’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and increasing female representation in positions of leadership had women front and center in the news. As consumer demand necessitates board-level commitment to building real and sustained corporate values, a commitment to diversity and female leadership is going to play a key role in the technology landscape. In the end, it is important to consumers to buy from brands they believe in and trust.
But how has all this attention translated into consumer perceptions of the representation of women in technology? Not very well, according to our poll. In fact, when compared to a year ago, consumers haven’t seen much of a shift at all. We asked them how they felt about the representation of women in the technology industry in general, and in speaking roles at conferences, and there is startlingly little progress from year to year.
This is going to open technology companies to increased risk and loss of consumer demand. If the downstream impact of expanding female leadership, shifting corporate agendas, and corporate communications about the importance of diversity still has yet to translate into consumer perception, how will that affect consumer choice and purchase? The investments and actions companies have made either haven’t done nearly enough (likely), or haven’t been communicated effectively (also likely). The dynamic of feeling like technology doesn’t represent everyone presents a significant barrier as adoption means becoming a part of consumers’ daily lives.
There’s a payoff for improvement here. As privacy concerns continue to present a potentially significant barrier to widespread adoption for certain technologies, companies will need to offset that in some way and give consumers a reason to believe in the brand. Diversity can not only help lead to divergent thought and stimulate innovation, it also builds trust in a company’s values. And, as with many things in the technology world, there are likely to be significant first-mover advantages.
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