Exploration into the lack of representation of women in the technology industry

   School of Built Environment, Engineering and Computing

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  Prof Antony Bryant, Dr Jackie Campbell  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Project Highlights:

1.      Investigate and characterize the historical influences that have led to the underrepresentation of women in the technology industry.

2.      Examine the influence the lack of female representation in the tech industry has had on society.

3.      Explore and understand the impact or lack of impact of initiatives intended to improve the representation of women in technology.

4.      Co-design initiatives to improve the situation, working alongside key stakeholders.

In mid-2021, Steve Shirley posed the question “The accepted view of gender equality seems to be that leaders determine who become the leaders of the future. So why in a female dominated company that scaled did the feminine bias get lost?” With her encouragement and support Professor Bryant undertook a research project to investigate this question, interviewing several of her former colleagues. In brief, he found that Steve was asking the wrong question. The real question to ask is “Given the continued and widespread forces that continually prevent or undermine the role of women as creative participants in all aspects of contemporary life: How did F International manage to scale up, make its mark, and last for as long as it did, before succumbing to the exigencies of male-dominated commercial existence?”

The plan now is to build upon the initial research project, which although small-scale, has significant implications for management practices and the many and varied initiatives aimed at rectifying this imbalance. Moreover, similar concerns apply to initiatives to correct other inequalities such as race/ethnicity, and various disabilities. It must, however, be noted that these latter can collectively be referred to as focusing on specific minorities; whereas the male/female imbalance impacts upon the majority, women outnumber men.

Women currently represent around 20% of the working population in technology, this is relatively constant worldwide and has not improved despite initiatives.


To gain an in-depth understanding of the influences affecting females whilst considering their careers in technology throughout their career journey. The project is informed by sociological theoretical frameworks.

Research Questions:

1.      How do women perceive the field of technology as a career option and how did those working in the industry negotiate this? What were their influences and practices?

2. How does the industry perceive and address the lack of minorities in the industry?

3. How has this lack of representation shaped the industry and technology?

4. What are the successful and unsuccessful initiatives to support women in gaining access to the industry. Are there lessons to be learnt here?

Computer Science (8) Sociology (32)


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White, S. (2021) Women in tech statistics: The hard truths of an uphill battle. CIO. [online] Available from:< https://www.cio.com/article/201905/women-in-tech-statistics-the-hard-truths-of-an-uphill-battle.html> [Accessed 05/08/2022].
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 About the Project