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By Kimberly Zhang:

Original Source:

No industry changes more quickly than the tech world does, but that doesn’t mean that Silicon Valley doesn’t still have some ugly traditions to get rid of. Today, only 5% of tech start-ups are owned by women, and progress to get the number higher remains slow.

Despite continuing to face discrimination across the field, women in tech are constantly finding new ways to upend their industry. Many of the biggest innovations in the world of technology today are coming from women and women-owned businesses, yet their efforts are still being largely overlooked.

You can’t know what’s happening in the tech sector today without knowing how women are changing it — here are a few ways they’re doing so:

1. Increasing inclusivity

Fostering a more diverse and inclusive workplace is a necessary thing in and of itself, but the positive implications of doing so can seep through every aspect of your business. Research published in the Harvard Business Review found that, among Western companies, a 10% increase in gender diversity correlated to a 7% increase in market value. As women fight to make their businesses more inclusive, they’re creating more effective companies along the way.

Take IBEX, for example — one of Inc 5000’s fastest-growing companies and a success story for diversity in the world of IT experts. As a black woman in tech, IBEX President and CEO Tracy Grace fought hard to stake her claim in the business. After working for years in a business dominated by men, Grace has finally formed a team composed of over 50% women. Inclusivity is the future of business, and the hard work of women across the industry are helping to usher that future in.

2. Thinking outside the box

When tech stays a boys’ club for too long, new perspectives become exceptionally difficult to come by. A mere 7% of employees at companies with strict gender hierarchies reported feeling as though they had the space to innovate, compared with 40% at more inclusive organizations. Bringing women onto a level playing field allows them to showcase their ideas — ideas that can change the world.

Dr. Lisa Dyson’s job was to find a way to solve climate change; not only did she make a huge stride in that direction, she also made a crucial gain in the fight against world hunger. With food demand expected to increase 70% by 2050, a big innovation was needed — and Dyson found it hanging right in front of her. Dyson used her experience with carbon-capture technology to develop a way to capture protein directly from the air and process it into an edible form.

The more that tech companies crowd out womens’ voices, the more they lose the invaluable perspectives of people like Dr. Dyson. Women are thinking outside of the box in ways never seen before, and businesses need to start taking notice if they want to keep up.

3. Opening up new consumer bases

Women are undoubtedly making waves across all corners of the traditional tech world, but they’re also opening up new avenues for technology as well. Simply put, women-run companies can often find ways to connect with female consumers that other businesses can’t — creating new opportunities for innovation and market expansion along the way.

Wearable health tech is expected to nearly triple by 2025, but watches aren’t the whole story. Bloomer Tech recently walked away with $3 million in seed funding to develop an electrocardiogram bra to help women with heart conditions. Alicia Chong, the CEO of Bloomer Tech, had previously developed bras that can track health metrics, and Bloomer’s big step towards cardiology may help usher in a new era for tech-infused women’s wearables across the world. New, woman-focused tech offers more chances expanding consumer bases than ever before, and woman-run companies like Bloomer Tech are leading the charge.

With each passing year, women are becoming a larger and larger presence in the world of tech, and Silicon Valley is better off for it. By fostering a new environment of innovation, responsibility, and diversity across the tech sector, women are changing the world before our very eyes — and tech leaders would do well to get on board now.