Kaspersky released a new report showing that half of women surveyed working in technology believe the effects of COVID-19 have delayed their career progression, despite a similar percentage believing that much needed gender equality is more likely to be achieved through remote working structures.

Lockdown life was generally predicted to bring about a positive industry shift in the fight for gender equality. By levelling the playing fields from a social and family planning perspective, traditional stereotypes around availability and longevity when it comes to women’s careers would be removed. The impact of COVID meant that companies were accelerated or even forced into this new norm overnight, and to an extent, this prediction has yielded positive steps forward in terms of the overall industry mindset.

Kaspersky’s new Women in Tech report, Where are we now? Understanding the evolution of women in technology, found that almost a third of women globally working in the tech industry do indeed prefer working at home to working in the office. A similar number reported they work most efficiently when working from home, and as many as 33% revealed they have more autonomy when not working in an office.

However, more concerning statistics from this report highlight how the potential of remote working for women in tech isn’t quite being matched by social progression in this ‘working from home’ dynamic. Almost half of women working in technology have struggled to juggle work and family life since March 2020 – a figure that is at its most prominent in North America, but is a consistent worldwide trend.

Delving deeper, and the reasons for this imbalance become clearer. When female respondents were asked about the day-to-day functions that are detracting from productivity or work progression, 60% said they had done the majority of cleaning in the home compared to 47% of men, figure which rises to 78% and 64% respectively in the United States. Meanwhile, 63% of women had been in charge of home schooling compared to 52% of men, and 54% of women have had to adapt their working hours more than their male partner in order to look after the family. As a result, 50% of women believe that the effects of COVID-19 have actually delayed, rather than enhanced, their overall career progression.

“If the tech realm takes the lead and ensures a more flexible and balanced environment for women, then it will become the norm more quickly, which is more likely to trigger a change in social dynamics too,” comments Evgeniya Naumova, vice president of the global sales network at Kaspersky. “As always, it won’t change overnight, but there are signs that women are feeling more empowered to rightly demand this way of working. More than half (56%) of women working in the tech space believe gender equality has improved in their organization over the past two years. Moving forward, we as an industry must build on this momentum, extract the positives from the past year’s transition to flexible working, and be a catalyst for wider social change as a result.”

More details are available in the full Where are we now? Understanding the evolution of women in technology report and can be downloaded from the Kaspersky website.