I’m sick of the “Women in Tech” debate
First let me clarify the position that I believe I am in. I am a woman who works around tech. I am not a woman in tech . I am a woman who works at a technology company, I am not a woman who is in a tech career. I am not a developer, I'm not an engineer and I am not employed to do a job that is based off of science or math.
I have a strong interest in science and math, but I am not paid to be interested in science or math. I can't really grasp, what the actual argument in this "Women in Tech" debate is. If one were to take the perspective that a female marketing/PR employee at a technology company is a "woman in tech," then I simply cannot see that there are a lack of women in tech. Nearly every startup I can think of has a female in that role. I have never seen females in marketing/PR treated poorly or disrespected because of their gender. Nearly every developer I've talked to has appreciated the fact that there is an individual out there willing to do a job they are not equipped to do and in such, tend to treat their marketing/PR folk well.
However, if you take the perspective that "women in tech" are female employees who do science and math related jobs, there is a lower ratio of females to males in these positions at technology companies. I don't see a lot of these women in tech having the debates. I see more women of the first type having these debates.
If you look at actual numbers, there is a rising ratio of women to men for earning college degrees. These numbers are even true for master's degrees, first-professional degrees and doctorates. More women are graduating college. Take a look at the table below, look at it over time of the numbers we have and the projected numbers.
So that sums it up well for women of all careers, but what about women in tech? Specifically programmers and engineers? The number of female applicants to engineering and information technology peaked in the 1980s. Since then, that percentage has declined from 35.2% in 1990 to 28.4% in 2000.
There is a proven shortage of female engineers and information technology majors. Microsoft funded a "Report on the Status of Women in Information Technology." Which provides a glimpse into education and the workplace in regards to women in these fields. I have also found some very awesome studies from Stanford and MIT in regards to this subject as well (the MIT papers were in 1983 just prior to the upward trend and the eventual re-decline).
Do I believe there is a shortage of women in tech? Yes, I do. I don't think that my feelings or opinion does justice towards the women currently in tech. I've known female programmers and I have never walked a mile in their shoes. I've never sat in a Data Structures or Heuristic Methods for Optimization class at a university in a room filled with men. I've never had to raise my hand in the before mentioned classes and wonder what my male peers were thinking when I delivered answers or papers to male instructors.
I want less women in my position debating the "Women in Tech" issue and more women who have sat in those classes to debate the issue. Instead of pointing fingers at men for sexism, I want to see solutions suggested on how to interest young girls in technology fields. I want to see Math and Science taught in ways that make both genders passionate and most importantly, I want to see Computer Science and Information Technology taught at universities in ways that are compelling to both genders.
I'm sick of watching the wrong debate being made by the wrong women.
I want to see the right issues being spoken about by the women who lived them.