Recruitment site Liepin.com, and the female professional networking group Ladies Who Tech (LWT), recently conducted a national survey to find out more about the career opportunities for women who work in China's data science industry.
According to the results, women constitute some 17.47 percent of professionals who hold the titles of data scientist, data product manager, chief data officer, data architect, data warehouse engineer, database developer or data mining engineer.
One prominent advisor to LWT is Vivian Tian, currently global vice-president of eBay and the general manager of the eBay China Technology Center of Excellence (CCOE).
Tian has been working in fields relevant to big data analysis and large-scale distributed computing in data science for several years.
She believes data science is a unique field which requires strong logical thinking ability, a foundation in engineering development and in-depth business knowledge.
Consequently, women's communication skills, team affinity and coordination are valued by the data industry as they often play an important role in communicating with customers.
The survey also revealed many further statistics on female practitioners in the field. Over 70 percent are under 30.
As regards work experience, a large number have entered the field in recent years, and over 30 percent have worked for less than three years.
Geographically, over half are gathered in Beijing and Shanghai. Some 33 percent work in Beijing, and 20 percent in Shanghai.
As for particular industries, over 80 percent work for internet companies, followed by finance.
In addition, women prefer the position of data mining engineer and data product manager. More than 33 percent of such female practitioners have served as data mining engineers, and over 30 percent have chosen to be data product managers.
Highly educated, over half are holders of master's degree, and 3.38 percent doctoral or postdoctoral degrees.
About 13 percent have an annual income of less than 100,000 yuan, 27 percent between 100,000-150,000 yuan; and about 13 percent over 300,000 yuan.
The current scientific and technological field is still dominated by men, despite concepts of gender equality and corporate gender diversification advocated today, say experts.
According to the article "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber", written by former Google software engineer James Damore in August 2017, the underrepresentation of women in the field of science and technology results from biological causes, rather than prejudice and discrimination in the workplace.
It is easy to observe that even in Silicon Valley, the holy-land of sci-tech, women's development is restricted by stereotyped thinking.
In China's data science, female practitioners also face the problem of gender bias. To better analyze such situation, Data Knight social network and LWT started an investigation called Career Development and Leadership of Female Data Science Practitioners.
The survey results showed half of the female practitioners said they occasionally experienced gender bias during career development, and about nine percent of women have often experienced such discrimination.
On the issue of corporate gender diversity, only about 20 percent of women believe that their companies attach great importance to gender diversity of employees; and about 14 percent considered their companies are unconcerned with such issues.
Du Xiaomeng is a data scientist at China-based big data and AI tech company Percent. She believes that differences between individuals are bigger than gender differences, and women interested in dealing with numbers in the data world can succeed in the field.
Du also considers that women are better business communicators. She says data scientists often have to face customers directly, and women's communicative skills are often crucial in these situations.
They are able to pinpoint key issues on specific businesses, allowing data scientists and customers to understand each other's demands.
Another outstanding female data scientist Wan Jing, the chief data scientist at State Farm, a major insurance and financial services company in the U.S, attributes the small number of female data scientists to the few female entering science and engineering colleges, and the still fewer women who have entered the data science industry.
Wan also revealed that women's programming skills and other abilities are actually not inferior to men's. Women usually pay attention to details, which can be applied to data analysis. In the face of discrimination, female practitioners can prove themselves with work results and abilities.
As regards the work-family balance, Wan believes that equality between men and women should not only be reflected in the workplace, but also in family life.
(Source: Cnwomen.cn/ Translated and edited by Women of China)
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