From June to August, Kate Spade New York and Sephora joined the growing ranks of brands participating in the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program. The question is, why aren’t more retailers doing the same or participating in similar programs?
It’s no secret that when it comes to retail, women account for 70% to 80% of all consumer purchases. Combined, that amounts to trillions of dollars globally each year. In-store retail environments are changing rapidly, and new consumer-facing technologies will radically alter the shopping experience.
Women, like Madison Maxey of The Crated, are also leading the next generation of wearables, and presumably will need innovative retail spaces to demo their technology. So, why are women engineers and tech leaders stymied from top tech positions? What will it mean if women are left out of creating these new experiences?
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Currently, over two-thirds of the available programming jobs are actually outside the technology sector—there are lots of opportunities for women to apply computer science knowledge to areas that aren’t in Silicon Valley.
According to McKinsey & Company report from May, getting more women into tech jobs in general is a $12 trillion opportunity worldwide, but an earlier report in March stated that retailers, “struggle to promote [women] to top-level executive positions,” including technology positions.
In retail, the report goes on to say, women are well-represented at entry- and mid-level positions, but at the top, they only account for 13%—5% below the average with other industries included.
For retailers who are unsure of how to navigate the gender gap, Saujani recommends that senior leadership starts asking the following questions of its management teams: “Do men and women have an equal voice at the table? Are women compensated equally to their male counterparts? Does the culture support care-taking?”