The gender gap in top- level tech jobs is widest in New York City compared to the nation's other tech-centric areas, according to a new report by California-based Silicon Valley Bank.
Only 38% of New York City-area tech companies have women in corporate-title or board-of-director positions, according to the report. Nationwide, meanwhile, 46% of companies have woman holding higher-level positions, the report said.
New York's relatively new tech industry may just need more time to catch up to its west coast counterpart, Silicon Valley, which had 44% in the report, said Jessica Lawrence, executive director of NY Tech Meetup, a nonprofit that holds monthly events for members to discuss the latest industry developments. "New York, as a technology hub, is a bit younger than Silicon Valley," Lawrence said. "We just have not had enough time to really build this industry."
In fact, the high-tech industry in New York City is growing four times faster than the rate of job growth in the rest of the city, according to an April report by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. The industry added more than 25,000 jobs during the past four years of the economic recovery, the DiNapoli's report found.
But women are still being "actively discouraged" from entering the tech field, said Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a nonprofit working to close the technology gender gap. And young girls in New York don't seem to have the same access to the tech industry as those growing up in Silicon Valley, she said.
"New York has been known for being the titans of industry in finance and law," Saujani said. "Part of what we're doing is educating young women [on] what does mean to be in technology, what does their day look like. We fix it through really having conversations with counselors and educators."
While reviewing applications for a summer tech program for teenage girls, Lawrence said multiple applicants wrote they have been told to explore other industries.
"Either a parent, a teacher, or a counselor had told them that 'girls don't do tech,'" she said. "It's a societal issue in terms of where women and girls are directed. It's a problem that perpetuates itself."
In the health care industry, however, the report found that the numbers are much higher: 56% of companies have woman holding corporate level positions.
Boston ranked highest on the list at 48%, which may be in part due to the thriving health care industry there, the report said.
The report surveyed 1,200 tech executives about the representation of women in corporate-title or executive positions.