Although women outnumber men in the population and make 85 percent of all purchasing decisions, we live in a world mainly designed by men for men, and women are forced to acclimate to products and tools that are not built with their own unique needs and features in mind. In 2020 NAWRB WHER, Volume IV: STEM, we explore the representation of women in technology design, and how a lack of diversity has resulted in disadvantages for women as consumers.
First, we give vivid examples of how women are disadvantaged by everyday products, professionals tools and equipment, and the negative impact it has on gender equality. Some industries mentioned include gaming and entertainment; financial services; healthcare; transportation; space ; and the military-industrial complex. Second, we explain how this phenomenon is perpetuated by a lack of women in design leadership roles and the general underrepresentation of women in technology design, programs available for increasing women’s leadership, and obstacles are blocking the path for greater gender parity.
We also take a look at women’s representation in artificial intelligence (AI) design, and explain why diverse, collaborative teams are important for AI design and how women are well-equipped to facilitate a collaborative spirit. Third and finally, we provide a positive look forward by highlighting organizations that are paving the way for more women in technology design roles and suggestions for how we can increase women-centered innovation, or creation and evaluation of products and tools for women by women. We also list venture capital firms that are making an effort to target women-owned and minority-owned startups.