I'm proud to be a female entrepreneur in the online industry, and I type those words with passion. I'm only 19 years old and I've managed to grow a successful freelance business - something I never would've thought was achievable if I'd have listened to the advice of other people.
Growing up, it was only my close family that told me that I could do whatever I put my mind to - even if I am female. I took that for granted, especially when I realised what the world was actually about.
As I've gotten older and started my journey to creating a business, it's only now that I'm seeing the stark, and quite concerning, things that are happening to women.
The online world is just an example, what with the political drama happening at the moment, but we're still overlooking the issue that's happening in workplaces. In fact, women are still drastically under-represented in all types of industry, not just online. Why is that?
After looking further into it, I found that the UK gender pay gap for women without children was 7%. While that is bad enough, you've still not heard the worst.
When women have one child, the pay gap spikes to 21%.
All of this information comes in spite of the fact that companies that work to integrate female employees, particularly new mothers, see tangible improvements in workforce diversity.
The discrimination against female entrepreneurs isn't just directed to new mothers. It's women of all ages, races and backgrounds being told they can't do something as 'well' as their male counterpart could - despite having equal skill and qualification.
Is this the reason why few women are choosing to go into male-dominated careers? Because they're at an unfair disadvantage and it would be seen as "strange"?
Here are some stats about women working in a male-dominated industry - tech and computing:
- Just 28% of all computer science degrees are obtained by women
- Only 25% of women hold some form of computing job
- Women receive lower salary offers for the same job at the same company, 63% of the time
Looking at those stats, it's not hard to understand why women might be deterred from a career in these industries. Maybe that's why it's so news-worthy to see women crack the tech market.
The Women in Tech movement was created to have a gender-balanced workforce. They say, "techUK strongly believe that having a gender balanced workforce across the tech sector strengthens the sector's ability to retain its market position as the cornerstone of industry across global markets".
Many brands, businesses and employers are opting to show their support for equality. Granted, it has a huge impact on their branding, but this shouldn't be the only reason.
Just like men, women have incredible things to offer to the UK tech industry. Just look at Martha Lane Fox, the founder of LastMinute.com, one of the only companies to survive the dotcom bubble crash. Or Holly Brockwell, the founder of Gadgette, a technology site for women. Or Claire Valoti, who now works as the General Manager of UK Sales for Snapchat.
Women and young girls need to see that it is possible to work in tech, even if they don't have the same body parts as their male friends.
Body parts are as they suggest - parts of your body. They don't have any impact on your ability to learn, grow, thrive and build a career for yourself in a male-dominated industry. So, don't let them.