The demand for competent coders is higher than ever, yet women are still underrepresented in the tech industry. Women make up almost half of the workforce in the United States, yet just 24% of workers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are women.

According to Signal magazine,

this imbalance stems from several causes, ranging from the proverbial glass ceiling to antiquated and damaging stereotypes about women’s math and science abilities, issues of women feeling as though they do not belong, sexual harassment, financial concerns and lack of recognition. Some say they feel they had to relinquish their identities to fit in.

These “antiquated stereotypes” are unfortunately not so antiquated, as they continue to hold back women and girls from pursuing science and technology careers. At least in the tech field, these stereotypes should have been overturned decades ago. Until the 1980’s, about an equal number of men and women studied computer science. It was during the first tech boom in the 80’s that the number of women in the field steeply declined.

The bro-tech culture cannot and will not change until women claim their rightful place in the tech industry. But there is more at stake than just eliminating the hostile work environment and economic inequality that is fostered by a male-dominated industry. Technology has the potential to help solve many of the pressing issues of gender inequality around the world. However, without women to take the lead on these initiatives and serve as role models for the next generation, the bro-tech industry and its toxic culture will continue to replicate itself.