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FFIT: Supporting Diversity in Tech

July 5, 2018

As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting and celebrating women, we are proud to promote the 2018 Female Founders in Tech Competition (FFIT) powered by Quesnay. This is a global competition, and applications for the InsurTech program are being accepted now through July 30.

 

We encourage women entrepreneurs in the InsurTech space to apply here!

 

The diversity deficit

 

“Diversity” is one of those buzzwords that gets thrown around so frequently that sometimes its meaning gets lost. Diversity is about more than complying with initiatives and checking off boxes…it’s about ensuring that the workforce creating products and services represent the customers who are buying and using them. Not just some of those customers, but all of them. Diversity is an issue industry-wide because diversity is a reality worldwide.

 

Fields like finance and technology in particular suffer from a lack of diversity. For example: women hold less than 20% of tech jobs in the U.S., even though they represent over half the workforce. Caucasian men continue to dominate tech jobs, and the lack of opportunity discourages women and minorities from seeking careers in the industry.

 

Longer bridges & taller ladders

 

In other words, the gap isn’t closing…it’s widening. In 1995, 37% of computer science majors were women. Last year, that number had fallen to just 24%, according to Girls Who Code. At the sixteen Fortune 500 companies that provided demographic information last year, 72% of executives are Caucasian men, which isn’t exactly an appealing statistic if you’re hoping to work hard and climb to the top of the ladder as a minority in information technology.

 

Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) roles make an average of $16,000 less than their male peers, and black and Latino STEM employees make as much as $14,000 less than their Caucasian coworkers.

 

Does that mean there aren’t ANY successful women and minorities in the tech industry? Of course not. It just means they’ve had to cross longer bridges and climb taller ladders.

 

A bad deal for everyone

 

When one group has the potential to make most of the decisions, the interests of other groups may get overlooked. This could lead to a greater lack of diversity which isn’t just bad for all of the brilliant women and minorities who want jobs in the tech industry…it could also be bad for consumers, many of whom are, of course, women and minorities. There aren’t enough focus groups or statistics or data-driven personas in the world to take the place of a team built from people with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

 

More for less

 

We all know that equal pay for women is still an issue, but it’s highlighted in the technology industry, where a jaw-dropping 63% of women are offered lower starting salaries (up to 45% lower) than their male peers for the exact same job. Women may also have to deal with many other forms of gender discrimination, including workplace harassment and fear of losing their jobs if they were to have a child. Even when a woman does make it to the top, she’s often greeted by cutesy terms like “girl boss,” which may seem like a harmless enough attempt at Instagram-friendly empowerment, but really just perpetuates the problem.

 

According to Melinda Gates, “I don’t think there’s a woman who has worked in tech who hasn’t experienced some form of bias or sexual harassment somewhere along the way—myself included.” So essentially, women are being asked to work more—and endure more—for less pay and with less support.

 

Cracking the glass ceiling

 

Fixing what’s broken isn’t going to be an easy job, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you look at the big, ugly picture. The only way to approach tasks like this is to take a step closer, identify the things you can control, and start chipping away at the problems right in front of you.

 

That’s why we created Our Life Covered℠. We looked at what was closest to us (life insurance), and identified an underserved group (women). Then we started looking for ways to make sure when a woman comes to our website or follows us on social media, she’ll not only find a smart, simple shopping process for life insurance coverage, but also feel empowered to take more control of her future, financially and otherwise.

 

In a time when it feels like the progress we’ve made is more of an assortment of scattered puzzle pieces, it’s more important than ever to get involved and do your part to put the picture together and turn it into something more powerful than ever. So stand up, speak up, and pick up the pieces. We’re right here with you.

 

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