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U.S. Lags in Wage Equality for Women in Tech

businesswoman in meeting with other workers in the background

With all the focus on getting more women into STEM fields, one needs to ask, could compensation be an issue? According to a new data collection project, the list of best countries for female undergraduates in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines doesn't necessarily include the United States, which comes in eighth in terms of the gender pay gap in the tech fields. On average, men make nearly 12 percent more than women, a difference that hasn't varied much since 2010. Who does better? Turkey (where the difference is 8 percent), New Zealand, Sweden, Latvia, Portugal, Belgium and France.

The project was undertaken by Honeypot, a European company representing tech talent. The company developed a "tech index" to understand the role that gender plays in the IT field. The study focused on 41 countries that are in the European Union and/or belong to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The data accumulated from multiple sources examined the overall economy, women in tech positions, opportunities for women in tech, the wage gap and female career progression as assessed by the percentage of women in positions of leadership.

In terms of the "gender inequality index," where a score of 0 represents perfect equality, the United States showed up in position 34 with a score of 0.203. Yet, it's also described by the report's author as one of the three "top nations" (along with Portugal and Latvia). Why? Because the income disparity in tech is less than the overall average income across all fields in those countries, indicating greater fairness for women in tech professions. In other words, because the pay gap is so much worse in other fields, tech looks much better in comparison.

"As tech recruitment specialists, we are often confronted with the gender imbalances of the industry, which are fully exposed in this study." wrote Emma Tracey, co-founder of Honeypot. "The results reveal the countries which have the most to offer women looking to progress in the tech industry."

But because the proportion of female tech workers remains under 30 percent "across the board," she added, "we hope that this study will enrich the conversation concerning equality in this industry and inspire more women to seek out opportunities in tech."

The interactive table with full data is openly available on the Honeypot website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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