CTA is excited to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8! As the world recognizes the achievements of women around the globe, we want to give a shout-out to the incredible women who are driving the tech industry forward. At CES 2022, we heard from GM CEO Mary Barra about her work to prepare the automaker for an all-electric future. Target Chief Marketing and Digital Officer Cara Sylvester shared insights on the industry’s efforts to support consumers during the pandemic; Samsung VP Samantha Fein Osborne weighed in on the rise of smart home technology; and JPMorgan Chase Payments Head of Strategy & Insights Neha Wattas offered predictions for the future of digital payments.
And of course, we were thrilled to host Senators Jacky Rosen, Shelley Moore Capito, Marsha Blackburn, Susan Collins, and Maria Cantwell, all of the Senate Commerce Committee, for a conversation on broadband, STEM education and women in technology. (Thanks to Senator Cantwell, in particular, for highlighting the gender diversity at CES!) These speakers are just a few of the dozens of #womenintech leaders who joined us in Las Vegas in January.
But let’s be blunt: the tech industry has not always had the best track record when it comes to gender diversity. While more women are leading tech companies than ever before, they remain significantly underrepresented – holding less than a third of leadership positions in the industry. That’s why CTA is so committed to creating opportunities for women in leadership roles across the consumer tech industry to take the stage and share their expertise. This is why we’re investing $10M in venture firms and funds that support women-led startups, underrepresented founders, and diverse leadership teams that will lead the tech industry into the future. And CES provides opportunities for women who currently hold leadership positions – and, importantly, for rising stars in the field – to shine by participation on our panels and stages.
We also believe it’s critical to push other organizations to do better on the issue. As a matter of policy, CTA representatives agree to speak only at events and on panels that prominently feature women and diverse voices. Many of our partners can attest to pushback they’ve received from CTA when we receive invites for our executives to join all-male sessions – and to their credit, the pushback generally leads to the inclusion of more women as speakers!
Thankfully, we’re not alone in this effort. CTA’s member companies, America’s leading tech brands, recognize the importance of attracting and retaining phenomenal women in the workforce and in leadership roles. We know that including diverse voices leads to creative thinking and problem solving, which is the foundation of tech innovation.
Our member companies are also putting their words into action. Last September, CTA published its first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Study and it showed that 88% of surveyed members are engaged in focused efforts to widen recruitment pools and invest in employee development and training in order to increase women’s representation in their workforce. Two thirds are also working with professional associations supporting women, as well as other underrepresented populations.
Of course, we recognize that the work to support women in the workplace is just getting started. Through the CTA Diversity & Inclusion working group, launched in 2019, we bring together leaders from companies of varying sizes to share best practices, address business challenges, and develop strategies to create a more diverse and inclusive tech ecosystem. We saw the gender gap widen during the COVID-19 pandemic as women left the workforce at a higher rate than men leading to greater gender inequity in the workforce than pre-pandemic. This year, the working group will be driving the conversation on what the tech industry can do to put strategies in place to offer a clear path for women to return to the workforce, from reskilling and returnship opportunities to creating new career pathways.
So, on this International Women’s Day, we invite you to join us in the effort to expand opportunities for women in tech. And if you represent a tech company invested in these goals, we hope you’ll consider joining CTA as we advance this important work!
The Diversity and Inclusion Working Group shares best practices and solutions, addresses business challenges and develops strategies to create a diverse and inclusive tech sector.
The working group is made up of executives responsible for building diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs, ranging from chief diversity officers to individuals in related roles dedicated to creating positive and inclusive workplaces.