Women in Technology and Business in Cyprus: Challenges and Progress

In recent years, Cyprus has been making strides toward becoming a significant player in the technology sector. This progress includes efforts to increase female participation in technology, a crucial aspect considering the global and European context of gender disparity in the tech industry.

State of Women in Technology in Cyprus

Cyprus has seen growing initiatives to support women in technology. TechIsland, Cyprus Computer Society, universities, Robotex, AIPFE Cyprus, BPW Cyprus and Junior Achievement Cyprus, among others, have been instrumental in providing platforms and networks for women in tech and business. The biggest community is Women In Tech Cyprus which has more than 500 members currently and growing very fast.

Events like the Forbes Cyprus Women in Tech, Future Startup Founders programme, Women in Tech Meetups, #PanisMeetups, TEDx and other events under Erasmus projects are contributing to this cause. According to Cyprus Mail, these gatherings provide valuable networking opportunities, knowledge sharing and discussions on elevating women in tech roles. Such events are crucial in fostering a supportive community for women navigating the tech industry.

European and Global Perspectives

On a broader scale, the representation of women in technology remains a significant challenge. Globally, women hold only about 25 per cent of tech roles and the numbers are even lower in leadership positions. Furthermore, more than 50 per cent experience sexism and that’s unacceptable.

Challenges Faced by Women in Tech

Women in the tech industry face numerous challenges, including gender bias, unequal pay and a lack of representation. Gender bias often manifests in hiring practices, project assignments and promotions, where women may be perceived as less competent than their male counterparts.

Another significant challenge is the pay gap. Studies have shown that women in tech earn less than men, even when accounting for factors like experience and education. This disparity is a critical issue that affects not only individual women but the broader goal of gender equality in the workplace.

Why Women Are Not Treated Equally

Several factors contribute to the unequal treatment of women in technology.

Persistent stereotypes about gender roles can discourage women from pursuing careers in STEM fields. These societal expectations can also influence workplace dynamics and opportunities for women.

The scarcity of women in leadership roles in tech means fewer role models for aspiring female technologists. Mentorship is crucial for career development and its absence can hinder women’s progress.

Many tech companies lack supportive policies for work-life balance, such as flexible working hours and parental leave, which can disproportionately affect women.

The gender gap in technology begins early, with fewer girls encouraged to pursue STEM subjects in school. This early discouragement can lead to fewer women entering tech fields.

Findings from the GEM Report Cyprus 2022/23

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report 2022/23 provides insights into the state of entrepreneurship in Cyprus, with a focus on women’s participation in business. The report highlights several key findings:

The Total Early-Stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) index for Cyprus showed that entrepreneurial activity remains relatively stable but still lower than pre-pandemic levels. However, the participation of women in entrepreneurial activity is limited, with a significant gender gap. The ratio of female to male TEA involvement in Cyprus decreased from 0.6 in 2021/22 to 0.4 in 2022/23, indicating a widening gender gap.

Women in Cyprus face challenges such as limited access to entrepreneurial finance, insufficient government entrepreneurship programmes and a lack of entrepreneurial education.

Despite these challenges, there are supportive elements within the Cypriot entrepreneurial ecosystem, such as robust physical and commercial infrastructure. However, more targeted support is needed to address the specific challenges faced by women entrepreneurs.

Moving forward

Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders. Companies must implement policies that promote diversity and inclusion, such as unbiased hiring practices, equal pay and supportive work environments. Educational institutions should encourage girls to pursue STEM from a young age and provide resources to sustain their interests.

Community support is also vital. It plays a crucial role in building networks and providing platforms for women to share their experiences and support each other.

In conclusion, while Cyprus and many parts of the world are making progress in increasing women’s participation in technology, significant challenges remain.

By continuing to address these issues through policy changes, community support and education, we can work towards a more equitable and sustainable tech industry for all.

Panis Pieri is a passionate voice in blogging and podcasting, who brings to the forefront issues like technology and innovation. He has multidisciplinary expertise in growth hacking, startups, disruption and tech.
His message? “Keep innovating.”