AUSTIN, Texas — Amber Gunst, the CEO of the Austin Technology Council, said most of the leadership roles in technology companies are predominantly male.
"Now, that is director to C-Suite that we see the biggest gap," Gunst said. "We’re fortunate to live in Austin because 30 percent of our executive-ship is female. But, we still have a long way to go within that. So, we’ve got women that end up in managerial roles, but not enough of them.”
Along with the gender gap, Gunst pointed out there's an age gap for women, as well.
“I think part of that gap that we’re seeing right now is you’ve got a lot of younger people, this Gen Z generation, that’s coming up, and they grew up with technology and they grew up with social media," Gunst said. "So, for them, coding and science and math, it all makes complete sense."
She said the opportunities for girls to get involved at a younger age play a role as well.
Anaita Merchant is a junior in high school and also the CEO of her Girl Scouts' robotics team.
"I get the whole, 'I thought Girl Scouts was just cookies' reaction a lot, and then other people are just surprised that Girl Scouts has a robotics team," Merchant said.
The team not only participates in competitions, but they also travel to rural Texas areas to teach other girls.
Merchant said she wants to be a mechanical engineer when she grows up. She takes engineering classes in school, but said there aren't many girls in the classes.
"I really like having an all-girls robotics team because it makes a safe space for girls to learn," Merchant said.
Gunst said activities like the robotics team helps close the gaps in the technology field.
"And so, where that gap falls in, I think we need to lean in on groups like Austin Community College and General Assembly who provide education for women who are trying to get into these careers," Gunst said. "And I think it’s important for companies to look at the candidates that are coming out of those groups to find great talent.”
Gunst also said having a mentor is crucial to helping someone grow in the business world.