Strategic CIO // IT Strategy
Commentary
8/11/2014
08:06 AM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata
Commentary
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Gender Bias: Is Your IT Group Guilty?

When it comes to gender bias, a recent InformationWeek flash poll suggests that IT groups may be slightly less discriminatory than the tech industry in general. But there's still plenty of work to be done.

Gender diversity is a hot topic among tech companies these days, and the statistics are grim: Males dominate the global workforces at all the tech companies that have revealed their diversity data this year.

We wondered if the same was true for IT in general. Are IT organizations in major commercial enterprises, healthcare organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions as male-dominated as the tech companies from which they source their products?

The results of a recent InformationWeek flash poll might lead us to believe that IT organizations across industry verticals are less discriminatory when it comes to gender than their tech-only counterparts.

More than 3,000 of you responded to our flash poll, Gender Discrimination IT, between July 1 and August 7, 2014. In response to the question "Do you believe you've ever witnessed gender discrimination in IT?" more than half of you said you have either witnessed it or been a victim of it. Just under half (48.75%) said no, indicating you've not witnessed gender discrimination in IT.

Table 1: Do you believe you've ever witnessed gender discrimination in IT?

Response % Respondents
Yes, I've seen it 34.53%
Yes, and I've been a victim of it 16.72%
Source: InformationWeek Flash Poll, "Gender Discrimination in IT," June 1-August 7, 2014; 3,235 respondents.

As with all forms of discrimination, gender bias can be blatant or it can be subtle. So while those respondents who say they've never witnessed it may be fortunate enough to work for truly enlightened companies, it's also possible that the sexism was so de facto that they didn't even recognize it. Likewise, those who say they have witnessed or experienced gender discrimination may have in fact been harmed by some insidious displays of gender bias, without experiencing behavior that egregious enough to prompt legal action (more on that later).

One blatant -- and illegal -- form of gender discrimination is pay disparity. Unless you're sharing your paystubs with your co-workers, you may not even be aware that unequal pay for equal work exists at your organization.

[Help equalize the tech gender gap by encouraging young women's' interest in STEM. Here are 12 great resources: 12 STEM Resources For Young Women.]

Salary disparity is a very real fact of life, however, for many women in IT. According to the InformationWeek 2014 US IT Salary Survey, the median total compensation for a female IT staffer is $81,000. For male counterparts it's $94,000, a difference of $13,000. That's a significant gap.

That pay gap is echoed in compensation for managers, with median total compensation for men at $122,000, versus $110,000 for women. (If you're looking to increase your earnings in IT, check out these negotiating tactics from Joan C. Williams, distinguished professor and founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at University of California's Hastings College of the Law.)

Perhaps even more indicative of the gender gap in IT is the difference in the number of men and women responding to our 2014 IT Salary Survey. Nearly nine out of 10 (87%) of the 5,717 IT managers and 85% of the 5,945 IT staff respondents were male.

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Susan Nunziata works closely with the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community. Nunziata was most recently Director of Editorial for ... View Full Bio
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Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/11/2014 | 11:55:27 AM
Tech Co vs. Tech Department
I wonder if there are discernable differences if you work at a technology company (which focuses exclusively on tech -- such as a developer or integrator) vs. working in the tech department of a different type of business (such as healthcare, retail, or education)?
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
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8/12/2014 | 10:02:44 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Alison_Diana, that's a great question. And I suppose you're thinking that discrimination/bias would be more prevalent in tech firms and less so in other sectors?
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
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8/12/2014 | 10:48:56 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Alison - Good statement and relevant.  And I would also add the point of view that hiring is also a numbers game.  I would be interested in knowing what the ratios are for men/women applying for tech jobs?  If this is a pure numbers game and let's assume for the moment that more men apply for jobs then the ratio would be higher for men in tech jobs.  However that does not account for actual discriminatory hiring practices and the associated behavior.  I would also add that as more women than men are staying in college and getting a higher level of education then we should see this shift based on qualification and roles.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/13/2014 | 9:55:34 AM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
In covering this topic for years across multiple publications, I'd say there's a lot of truth to the idea more white men apply for technology jobs than other people. It's one reason so many tech and non-tech businesses are getting involved with improving STEM's image for young girls, teens, and college students. It's a reason i believe it's so important to encourage more women engineering teachers, female or diverse physics professors, etc. I just read a USA Today article on Girls Who Code; it included a young Hispanic girl's quote, where she said she could never have envisioned herself working at a Facebook or Google until she met a Hispanic woman who is a tech professional at a startup. Girls need role models in this field; thankfully, lots of men and women across all backgrounds and ethnicities are realizing this and investing money and time to make this less rare.
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
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8/13/2014 | 1:50:49 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department

Alison - thank you for the response again very insightful.  From a slightly different, but real life point of view I have seen projects awarded to companies because they best met the "Diversity Criteria".  Truth be told they "best met" was a long way from met the criteria.

Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/13/2014 | 1:57:17 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Isn't that the truth, @Jeff! In my area - Central Florida - there's a very active, thriving technology integrator, Craig Technologies, that is woman-owned and headed; she is definitely and obviously the driving force behind the company she founded after years at NASA (I believe; definitely in engineering). Yet sometimes companies pay lip service to the diversity concept, naming a figurehead to get the diversity classification (be it woman, veteran, or another capacity). I respect what government and other groups are trying to do here and think it's necessary, unfortunately, but you'd think there was a better way to measure compliance than against an org chart... 

I am glad to see Facebook, Google, et al, break down their diversity numbers both as overall employees and within their technology groups (where employees make more money and have more opportunity). To me, that shows they are at least seriously considering the implications -- less competitive products, less access to the best and brightest employees, etc. 
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
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8/13/2014 | 2:18:27 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Alison - I saw that apple released thier deversity today so companies are aware now how do they diversifiy.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/13/2014 | 3:11:16 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Yes, Apple did -- and it had pretty much the same breakdown as Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. However, Tim Cook did say improving Apple's diversity is a priority for him.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
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8/13/2014 | 5:50:49 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
"....Tim Cook did say improving Apple's diversity is a priority for him."

 

@Alison _Diana       Really ?   I had not heard that about Mr.Cook.  I might have to dust off the ol' resume in that case.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/14/2014 | 9:21:50 AM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Here is the USA Today story where Cook discussed Apple's (lack of) diversity and his disappointment/plans to improve. Good luck!
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
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8/18/2014 | 3:17:24 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department

@Alison_Diana     Thank you for the link.  The numbers don't surprise me - I have sensed throughout my career that this was the case.   The entire industry has work to do.   I hope Mr.Cook understands that increasing minority representation is more than a job at the retail store.   That is not advancement.  

There are some who are qualified to be down the hall from him.   As for the FB's and Google's the sentiment is the same.   What are they waiting for ?  Oh they are aren't waiting ?   They just don't care.

It is much easier to say there are no ( or not enough ) qualified minorities - but there are some.  So hire them for real positions - not interested in the Genius Bar.  What a joke.

Can you say Cupertino ?   So can I.

Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/18/2014 | 3:33:15 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Hiring people in retail is a lot different from hiring them in technological or managerial positions (preferably tech management spots). Procter & Gamble has a long legacy of hiring women and minorities, according to reporting I did last year, and that's across the board of professions within the vast corporation. Creating a diverse retail presence is one thing -- but do developers really think they will meet the needs of women, people of color, and others outside their white male majority if these groups are underrepresented or completely unrepresented? The answer, I strongly believe, is no. It's not just a matter of being a 'good' company with the 'right' corporate culture. It's also a question of survival or, at least, thriving as US demographics shift. 
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
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8/19/2014 | 6:00:06 AM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department

@Alison_Diana     Good point.   The demographic shift that you mention is very real and something companies should not underestimate.   Many companies are operating under old models and it would not be surprising to see most of these models ineffective within the next decade.

Ask the telco's if their age old models are still effective ?    And I do applaud companies like Procter & Gamble for actually doing something about an issue that has been around for far too long.   

I am very sensitive to this issue because it is a battle minorites fight everyday - Should they have to fight this battle when they are qualified for the positions they seek ?  

Idealistically, one would think not but that is not realistic, what is real are the numbers ( they never lie ...) and the ingrained attitude that only whites and asians understand tech.  These groups love this misconception  and litterally feed off of it to further tighten their hold on the reigns of Industry influence. 

And since most ( no all ) of the major of the major tech companies are run by one or the other - this fallacy continues to grow unabated.    

As far as I am concerned, it is long overdue for someone to speak the truth regarding this issue, no matter how difficult it is to take.  I might just forward this link to the various "tech heads" so maybe they can take a moment away from being a "geniuses" to address this issue with real action.   Now that would be real  genius.

Thanks for letting me veer off course with respect to the main topic of this thread - Gender.   No doubt that is an issue of equal magnitude.

Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 6:26:49 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Technocrati: I don't think you veered off course at all in the sense that all forms of bias are insidious and ultimatelly detrimental to the workplace and IMHO will limit the success of any company or organization. I wish I had a simple answer to this conundrum, I honestly think the only thing that will improve it is time, as our world becomes less and less homongenous we will start to see true color- and gender-blindess in the work place. Which generation will lead the way? Probably the one that follows the millennials...
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
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8/31/2014 | 6:11:41 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Thanks S.N.    I would agree.  It will probably be another couple of centuries before society will no longer be able to ignore the obvious.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/18/2014 | 7:26:37 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Technocrati: Yes, we have to pay attention not only to quantity but quality jobs for women in tech companies...Hiring more women for low-level positions would be like putting up new curtains on a broken window.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
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8/19/2014 | 6:03:41 AM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department

@S.N.   Absolutely, when we talk about opportunity, it must be about real opportunity or what are we talking about ?

Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
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8/14/2014 | 2:29:35 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department -Making Marketing Better—Why Diversity Enhances Your Business
Hot topic these days: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140814175057-22977722-making-marketing-better-why-diversity-enhances-your-business?trk=tod-home-art-list-large_0

 

 

Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/14/2014 | 5:16:46 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department -Making Marketing Better—Why Diversity Enhances Your Business
Ha! Very good! Yes, diversity is a hot topic, made even hotter by tech companies' (lack of) diverse workforces. Plus there's the threat of organized response (Jesse Jackson, for one, has been pretty vocal about how little diversity there is at tech companies). 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/18/2014 | 6:41:11 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@JeffJerome: the lack of qualified women has often been cited by tech companies looking to justify their hiring practices. I'm not sure how we could prove that unless they were willing to reveal the gender breakdown of all their job applicants.

Assuming it's true, then it brings us to another issue, which is why there are fewer young women and girls than there are young men and boys choosing to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and whether those ratios will change over time.

no easy answers, you're on the right track in your observations, though.

 
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
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8/18/2014 | 6:49:04 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Susan - I can tell you that when I was in college, and that was a long time ago, in my engineering courses it was 95% men.  So times have changed I to be honest I don't believe that gender should be an issue; it should be about qualifications.  Technical ability yes but also the intangibles too.  Like can people work with you and ultimately can you get the job done.  As the saying goes "Works well and plays well with others", not "Student does not achieve to apparent ability".
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/18/2014 | 7:30:36 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Jeff: I wholeheartedly agree with you in theory. However, in reality, for women trying to make their way in a male dominated field, being able to "work well and play well with others" sometimes takes on unpleasant meaning. I've heard countless stories from women who were the only females on their teams being subjected to all manner of offensive behavior from their male colleagues, rarely was it enough to file a harassment suit over -- or they chose not to for fear of permanent retribution in their careers -- but was enough to cause them to find a new job.

In an ideal world we would be rated on merit and I do hope someday what you're proposing becomes reality, and that we can be truly blind to gender, race, physical appearance, and all manner of other ways in which bias crops up in the workplace.
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
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8/18/2014 | 7:54:59 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Susan - Ouch I am sorry to say that your statement is true.  My point was made from purely a plutonic point of view and was meant only in the most sincere way.  I had the luck of being heavily influenced by my older sister and she instilled in me the value of people and who they are, period.  As a result I tend to forget about certain behaviours.  And this takes us full circle to the original post "have you witnessed this or been subject to discrimination based on gender".  And sexual harassment has no place in the workforce and we would all be best served if it did not exist at all.  But it does and so now the question is how do we eliminate it?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/18/2014 | 9:11:32 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Jeff: so now the question is how do we eliminate it?

I'd say we start by cloning you!

:)

Thanks for your enlightened perspective, I'm confident that there are other men in tech out there who "get it" and having more and more of these folks add their voices to the discussion is extremely important.

All of us have it within us to advocate for change and speak up when we see things that are unjust.

 
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
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8/18/2014 | 10:51:53 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Susan - It would also be intersting to see how this issues based on geography.  Like you I am here in the SF Bay Area and for the most part live in a culture that is progressive and my I dare say less likely to demonstrate this type of bias.  I say crossing my fingers that this does not trigger a sore point for one of our readers. 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 4:55:58 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Jeff: Geography likely plays a huge role in this issue, both within and oustide the US. I'm in the Bay Area too and generally find men here to be far more enlightened than in many other places I've been.

On the flipside, many of the tech companies reporting the worst gender discrpencies are based here (although the numbers reflect their worldwide workforces), so I'm not really sure what to make of that.

 
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
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8/26/2014 | 5:54:57 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Hi Susan - Yes indeed what did you call it the republic of Berkely?  I find it a bit ironic that in other industries like construction for example that many of the up and coming project managers are women.  Of course in the field trades they are still mostely men.  Maybe it is the ability to multi-task which my wife would tell you only women can truley do and men simply can't do it.  I think she said that to me at a time when I was doing something else so I can be certain.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 6:06:35 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Jeff: "Maybe it is the ability to multi-task which my wife would tell you only women can truly do and men simply can't do it.  I think she said that to me at a time when I was doing something else so I can be certain."

I have seen no scientific proof that your wife is correct, but the results of experiments conducted in my own home would be right in line with her astute observations. :)

In all seriousness, I have known many women to gravitate to jobs in male dominated fields that can be described as project manaagement or traffic management -- wheter in tech or in other industries. Does that reflect an innate ability to multitask? Are women just extra good at herding cats?
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
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8/27/2014 | 8:44:29 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Square: Here's to Women's Equality Day! See the breakdown of women-owned businesses across the U.S.

Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/28/2014 | 6:39:00 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Jeff: Fantastic infographic, thanks for sharing. certainly not the states I would have expected: 61% of Wyoming businesses using Square are owned by women -- the highest ratio of any U.S. state, followed by Montana (60%), North Dakota (59%), Iowa (57%), Nebraska (57%), Idaho (56%), Alaska (56%), South Dakota (56%), Maine (56%), and Kansas (55%).

I wonder how  many of them are tech-oriented women-owned businesses...I'll see if I can get a call into the folks at Square and find out how deeply they've sliced the data.
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
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8/28/2014 | 7:12:34 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Susan - I hear Wyomig is a nice place to down site, or right size too, maybe that is a compomenet.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/28/2014 | 7:16:23 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Jeff: It is quite a beautiful place (at least the portion of it I saw during a cross-country move). It may also simply be less saturated with large corporations, leaving room for small- and medium-sized businesses to thrive. 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
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8/30/2014 | 3:26:58 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
SusanN,

I would like to venture a Guess,why Women seem to dominate Four Square and SMBs in these states.

Have you noticed(I am sure you have) that they have a Large Rural Population and have vast expanses of Rural Territory.

In Rural America,most of the Hard &Physical Jobs are done by Men(usually);this frees up the Women to try their hands at other ecletic stuff like Tech Businesses.

Thing is even if you have Men there who are Tech Oriented,they don't tend to stay in these States-The Pull of the Valley,Austin ,NYC or Boston is so great that most of them head out there.

This leaves the Women behind (who usually are more attached the Area/Primary Caregivers) who tend to multi-task brilliantly as well!

I Hope this helps!

Regards

Ashish.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/19/2014 | 9:05:37 AM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Eliminating the outsider is one thing some companies proactively try to do. As I mentioned in an earlier post, IBM for one makes sure managers interact closely with new hires to ensure they spend time with their peers, either as a group or on a one-on-one basis. They also have formal, company-sponsored groups to support women and minorities, both through networking and processes for complaints, etc. Granted, it's easier if you have thousands of employees but smaller companies too can eliminate crass, thoughtless talk and make a special effort to ensure minority and women feel comfortable in the workplace.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
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8/21/2014 | 1:28:24 AM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
I am not sure programs are the answer. Sure it is a step in the right direction for sure, but I am not certain we are seeing minorities in the same light. These cookie-cutter approaches are almost insulting to minorities who have survived the industry without a support group or peer.  I think it is safe to say if you get inside IBM as a minority you are well adept at coping with corporate America.

Some might need this but not every minority came from the inner city, which is the group companies tend to think of when they create these "programs".   This is a difficult issue of course - because there are different shades of grey.

I am not sure what "comfortable in the workplace" means ?    Yet I am sure that is the least of the concerns for most minorities - I think they are more concerned with getting the position they are qualified for and then ( gasp ) receive the same pay as their white and Asian counterparts.

That in my book would be the most important ingredient for "comfort in the workplace".    I don't mean to be snarky about this but again these misconceptions need to be cleared up.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/21/2014 | 10:52:35 AM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
First, I absolutely agree with you that acting as if all minorities are from the inner city or all women are feeble is insulting and wrong. That said, have you ever worked or socialized or been part of a team (a sports team, for example), that does nothing to accept or welcome you -- or even proactively works against you, for whatever reason? This is the type of 'comfort in the workplace' I was alluding to: Just as when women first joined police and fire departments, there were issues around Penthouse posters on lockers and R-rated, sexualized calendars on walls, the majority can sometimes shun or make a workplace uncomfortable to the 'different' person, even if it's not meant particularly coldly. So by ensuring new hires are welcomed (and this should be across the board, anyway) and not neglected by current employees, businesses make the workplace more comfortable because the 'diverse hire' is included.

Groups may or may not be necessary. I think, in the case of these multinational firms they have groups for everything and anything so having one for various members of the workplace population, such as women, makes sense. People can choose to join or not, so participation is not mandatory.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
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8/21/2014 | 5:53:31 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Thanks Alison for clarifying what you meant by "comfort in the workplace", and from your examples I certainly agree that there are times when the majority doesn't want the status quo to change and this certainly goes for occupations where women are taking on roles for the first time.

I do agree wholeheartedly that what you describe is unacceptable and I applaud companies who take a proactive approach in understanding and respecting the dynamics of their workplace and culture.

And very true, you don't have to join these groups but it is also good to know you have the option to if you want.   Let's not kidd ourselves there are parts of the World and the U.S. that don't quite hold the same opinion we do - to say the least....


Of course no easy answers here, but meaningful dialogue is vital for us  to get anywhere in our lifetimes.      But in terms of the tech industry, the nunbers are appalling  and I will be watching for improvement but I won't hold my breathe.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 6:41:17 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Alison: "have you ever worked or socialized or been part of a team (a sports team, for example), that does nothing to accept or welcome you -- or even proactively works against you, for whatever reason?"

the short answer: Yes.

The long answer: This is often the stuff lawsuits are made of, but sometimes it's so hard to prove. the examples you site of the early days of women in police and fire depts. are so blatant that they were able to file suit. However, in many organizations, this form of shunning and undermining can be dismissed as "office politics" even if it is truly rooted in a form of bias. I agree everyone deserves the kind of comfortable working environment that you described. Hard to believe in this century it's still something that people have to fight for.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
8/27/2014 | 3:04:23 AM
Let's examine the IT group's parents
SusanN, 

The title of your article could even be changed to Gender Bias: Are Your IT Group's Parents Guilty? Examining the root of the problem. :D

Yay! It sounds like a good title for a book, doesn't it? :)  

-SusanF
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
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8/30/2014 | 3:21:19 PM
Re: Let's examine the IT group's parents
Susan,

Its about time you finished the Book and had it for Printing!

LOL!

This is such a fundamental topic(where Quality Information is in Short Supply),that one wonders what magic a Good Quality Book could do here.

Think about it-I see Kids as Young as two-three year olds play around with iPads and go to Google PlayStores download Games,Install it and play whatever they like..

You remember the case where a Kid Downloaded Games worth Thousands of Dollars from their parents phones and the Parent was stumped when they saw the Bill?

Can you imagine,what a great effect Good quality Education (for both Parents and Kids) can have here.

Regards

Ashish.

 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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9/1/2014 | 7:35:03 AM
Re: Let's examine the IT group's parents
Ashish, 

Yay! That's true. :D 

I remember my mother had a book on this topic. 

Well, I am not against two and three-year-old kids playing with iPads if they are taught how to play with it by the parents, who are the ones responsible for anything the kids do online while using the iPad, including downloading and installing games.

It's definitely not the kids' fault but their parents. Blaming and punishing those kids is simply wrong. Kids learn easily if they are taught right. 

-Susan

 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
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8/30/2014 | 3:41:33 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
SusanN,

If ever I see or meet anyone who is going through such a Situation,The First thing I do is Gift them a copy(or lend them mine) of the Great,Great Book-"How to Win Friends and Influence People".

And of course you will need to add good Contemporary Touches to that today.

As a Mentor I seen many people face such a Situation(its not just about Gender but also about many other Stereotypes);The First thing I usually tell them is to stop complaining and Cribbing endlessly about it-Either at Home or in the Office or with your Friends.

Go to Work with a Massive Smile in the Morning and whoever you meet interact with them with a Smile.

A Smile usually melts most Barriers(I am saying this from personal Experience);Then you will need to do more stuff to mix in with the Crowd.

What else are you really,Really Good at?[Apart from Work].

Some people are Brilliant at Cooking,Some are Brilliant at Painting,Sports,etc,etc.

Whatever your special skills are bring them to the Table at Work and show your Talent and Passion in a big,big Way.

It will connect with most colleagues spectacularly.

Everyone wants to around people who are always Smiling and Buzzing and Cracking with Energy-Its like Moths to a Lightbulb.

Regards

Ashish.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 6:37:47 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Technocrati: your comments about the inner-city and other absurd assumptions made about minorities led me to think about another important and even more difficult to define form of workplace bias: Socioeconomic class.

I'm a mailman's daughter who grew up in a multicultural poor to working-poor neighborhood in Queens, NY, and I have been on job interviews where the person doing the hiring was clearly biased toward the fact that I had not attended an ivy league school, was not wearing status label clothing, etc. In one such interview, the hiring manager made pointed comments about his penthouse apartment, his home in the Hamptons, etc., and asked about what neighborhood of Manhattan I was living in (Upper West Side), was I renting or did I own, etc. He seemed more interested in talking about these things, and didn't ask me any questions about my actual qualifications. It was intensely awkward and I wasn't at all surprised when I didn't get the job.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 6:30:48 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Alison: Kudos to IBM. In my experience, the workplace programs that were designed for women were open ONLY to women, which I thought rather odd, especially considering that all the mentors I have had so far in my career have happened to be men. Unfortunately, I have yet to experience a workplace that is so diverse that there's even a need for a program for so-called minorities (I hate that particular term, but that's a topic for another day!).
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/18/2014 | 4:53:10 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Alison: Based on what I was able to glean from the stats released by the tech companies compared with the gender stats from our own salary survey (which included non-tech companies), I'd speculate that they're pretty close. though it does seem, based on the diversity figs released, hat tech companies skew higher in male employees even in non-tech jobs, and I can't say with any certainty that this is the case for jobs in non-tech companies. Will see what additional info I can find on that point...
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
8/18/2014 | 4:56:10 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Yes, that's what I figured out too from the info some companies made available. Even in their overall employee base, hiring leans strongly toward white male although it's not as disproportionate as tech professionals.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
8/11/2014 | 5:51:29 PM
Re: Gender Bias
Thanks for this, Susan. I think we can glean a lot from the information you've shared, if we're willing to read into it a little. The fact that all three of the acts you list reiterate that it's illegal to retaliate to discrimination complaints, for example, is very telling. It really only needs to be on one law to make it illegal, but that says that it needed some tweaking to get it right... and maybe that employers were dancing around it before. You shared a statistic just the other week Susan that Discrimination cases are found in favor of the employee only about 30% of the time - because it's hard to prove. The same thing applies to the retaliation aspect, and it can also be subtle.  Just because you fired someone after they complained about discrimination doesn't mean that's why you fired them.

The stats from the companies are also a little surprising, but maybe that shows some of my own Gender Bias, thinking that certain companies would or wouldn't be closer to 50/50. Salesforce and VMWare are among the lowest which is maybe not that surprising - discrimination is bound to be worst when it comes to sales and hard-business oriented jobs. On the other hand, I would have thought the all-mighty Google and Facebook would have done a lot better. They talk a lot about their proactive approach to hiring - but maybe this shows that some of that is just talk. Thanks for sharing.
zaious
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zaious,
User Rank: Ninja
8/11/2014 | 11:55:35 PM
Re: Gender Bias
The numbers are, well, surprising. I felt there is a bias, but these numbers are not what I expected. Anyway, there are changes taking place. I hope every deserving person will claim the right position or job.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
8/13/2014 | 7:37:24 AM
Re: Gender Bias
I agree, getting the right person in the position is key.  When I have job openings the response rate is overwhelmingly male, this last time it was 100% male.  I feel that this lessens my selection pool and would love to see some more diversity between the candidates.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
8/13/2014 | 9:59:28 AM
Re: Gender Bias
Some businesses have found the best way to increase the diversity of applicants is to broaden the way in which they reach out to prospective employees, working with groups that support women in tech, minorities in tech, etc., to get their openings out to a much wider base. That doesn't always work, of course, and time sometimes is of the essence. 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
8/14/2014 | 7:12:27 AM
Re: Gender Bias
@Alison_Diana, can you give me an example of some of those resources or how they reach out because I'd love to pass that along to our HR team.   Traditional hiring for IT positions seems to be lacking or as you pointed out it is reaching out in the wrong directions.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/14/2014 | 9:38:56 AM
Re: Gender Bias
Sure thing, @SaneIT. There are several well-known organizations that advocate (and help train HR/CIOs/CEOs, I believe) for a diverse tech workforce. They include: The Anita Borg Institute; the Society for Women Engineers; the American Society for Civil Engineering; Association of Women Engineers; National Society of Black Engineers; Urban Technology Network, and the Minority Professional Network (a mix of tech and non-tech groups/resources).

Here's a link to a page that has several organizations for minorities and women. They are not all necessarily focused on IT, but some groups probably have an IT career expert, conference, or other resources available. 

In researching a long, multi-part feature for Internet Evolution, I heard some tips from IT and HR pros in tech (email me at alison.diana@ubm.com) and i will send you a PDF of the story, if you'd like. During that research, I found many statistics that demonstrate the importance of a diverse staff: Of course, customers increasingly are diverse, so that's one obvious reason, but at least one study suggested even stock prices improve for more inclusive organizations!

Many are really simple and straight-forward: For example, HR recommends figuring out whether a new female or minority employee prefers large groups vs. one-on-ones and then make sure the IT staff welcomes her/him by taking them out to lunch, either as a group or in small or one/one parties during the first few weeks. This helps make the new hire feel part of the team. It's important, the HR exec said, for the CIO or IT manager to plan this so the newbie isn't stuck eating lunch alone during those first few days and weeks, giving her/him the opportunity to learn more about colleagues, company, etc.

Many larger tech firms (like IBM and EMC) have internal groups for their female and/or minority employees; these groups have meetings and support diverse hires by helping them network, resolve any real or conceived issues, etc. Larger firms also participate in some of the groups I provided in the first graf, either by paying for employees to attend events, encouraging them to speak on a panel at these meetings, or sponsoring part of the conference. There are usually local Meet-Up groups for diverse employees; by sponsoring, catering, or using company facilities for a meeting, even the smallest business sends a welcoming message to the tech community. 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
8/30/2014 | 3:51:05 PM
Re: Gender Bias
SaneIT,

You raise a very fair and accurate point.

As an Employer one can't expect that you will always go outside the Line of Duty to find Employees just so that your "Diversity-Mix" targets is met.

A Much better approach is to first look at why More Girls don't go into STEM fields,then focus on what can be done to get them there(and stay there) and then only the Talent Pool Mix will improve(automatically in fact).

For that Governments have a very important role to play(after all most Americans come through Public Schools today and this is where you need to focus and encourage Girls to go into STEM Fields).

Expecting Employers (on their own) to do something outside the Normal is expecting too much.

After all,this can have a reverse effect as well(By Driving Salaries for the Few Women Candidates to Stratospheric Heights).

And that would not really help anybody,especially if it was'nt done Sustainably in the Long-run.

Regards

Ashish. 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
9/2/2014 | 7:29:00 AM
Re: Gender Bias
I think that a good deal of the gap could be closed if every child had a little more exposure to the STEM fields.  I hear a lot of adults discourage kids by saying things like "you won't need that in the future" or "that's hard and you won't use it after you get out of school anyway".  They are unwittingly pushing them away from the sciences.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/18/2014 | 5:12:17 PM
Re: Gender Bias
@Zaious: Do you feel the numbers show a greater bias than you expected, or less bias than you expected?

Personally, I was expecting more respondents to our flash poll to have said they've witnessed gender bias, but I guess it's a hard thing to witness because it can be so subtle.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
8/13/2014 | 9:52:16 AM
Re: Gender Bias
Apple announced its employee mix today (or yesterday) and it's more of the same, unfortunately. On the plus side, Tim Cook stated it's a priority for him to improve the diversity mix at Apple. In reporting on this issue for years, I've discovered that companies which really emphasize and support diversity do a good job of meeting that goal. IBM, for example, has a rich heritage in supporting women across technology and business roles, and has a much higher mix of women and non-white males in its staff and management. EMC also has a big, ongoing diversity initiative. 

In both these companies' cases, they have a high-level exec whose sole responsibility is to improve hiring and retention of a diverse workforce, and that includes making sure diverse employees have the resources and support they need once they enter the workforce at this business. IBM, for example, has many groups for women, women of color, Hispanics, etc., leveraging perhaps its global presence. The company supports women in tech organizations, such as Anita Borg, financially and through participation in events.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/18/2014 | 6:49:58 PM
Re: Gender Bias
@Alison: you've nailed it: "...they have a high-level exec whose sole responsibility is to improve hiring and retention of a diverse workforce, and that includes making sure diverse employees have the resources and support they need once they enter the workforce at this business."

That's exactly what is needed, it's not enough for a company to hire folks so they can say they're diverse, they have to provide for an environment that truly operates openly and supports a diverse workforce.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/18/2014 | 5:00:49 PM
Re: Gender Bias
@Zerox203: yes, bias and discrimination based on age, gender or race are all extremely hard to prove by the letter of the law which is why it is such a minefield for any employees who want to speak out. It really is time for companies in leadersihp positions to step up and say they're going to go beyond what's required by law to make sure bias -- whether conscious or unconscious -- isn't ruling their operations.

One way to do so would be to train all employees (including the top execs) on what unconscious bias looks like and how we can each work on ourselves to avoid it.

I was talking about these issues with a friend over the weekend and she pointed out that bias goes so much deeper--in her workplace there's bias based on what universiities the employees have graduated from. If you didn't graduate from one of the two dominant universities at that company, your chances of getting a promotion are severely limited.

 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
8/13/2014 | 10:01:41 AM
Take the Diversity Test
You can examine your own diversity awareness and any bias, courtesy of a free series of online tests developed by Project Implicit, a non-profit developed by three university scientists to "foster dissemination and application of implicit social cognition." The president of the Society for Women Engineers passed along this test to me in 2013, and many find it very eye-opening.
Rman23a
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Rman23a,
User Rank: Strategist
8/13/2014 | 4:03:18 PM
Few female tech grads
What am I missing here?  I had 0 females in my Computer Science major at university.  How are companies supposed to hire what doesn't exist?

thanks
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
8/13/2014 | 4:44:29 PM
Re: Few female tech grads
I volunteer with a group of young women at an engineering-focused college here in MA and let me assure you they are not only real but also incredibly smart.

 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
8/14/2014 | 9:19:53 AM
Re: Few female tech grads
It's a shame there were no women in your class, but that is (thankfully) not always the case, as Laurie said. Thanks to the efforts of K-12 and higher-ed schools, IT professionals, organizations, and volunteers, more women (younger and older) see technology as a viable, fulfilling, and attractive career path. Granted, it's nowhere near a 50/50 split (or close), but it's tough to turn a ship around overnight. 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
8/15/2014 | 1:32:24 AM
Re: Few female tech grads
Alison, 

"Thanks to the efforts of K-12 and higher-ed schools, IT professionals, organizations, and volunteers, more women (younger and older) see technology as a viable, fulfilling, and attractive career path."

Most likely future generations will see more women in technology. The first problem for not having more women in technology comes from those parents who said things like "what are doing playing with your brother's toys? Are you a boy?" to their daughters.

Girls, until not long ago, were given only "girls' toys". In the same way parents didn't seem to approve boys playing with dolls, which in some generations has created a false idea that children were a "women's thing" only. 

-Susan 

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/18/2014 | 7:23:46 PM
Re: Few female tech grads
@SusanF: Unfortunately I see some educated parents raising daughters and sons today who are still instilling those biases at a very very early age. Though I agree this is becoming less and less common, it does point out that the issue starts long before the first job interview.

I'm grateful that I had parents who let me play with whatever toys I preferred. I had quite a collection of Hot Rod racing cars that was the envy of my male cousins, though i also liked playing with my Easy Bake toy oven. I had no interest in doll babies, despite numerous well-intentioned relatives giving them to me as birthday gifts.

:)
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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8/19/2014 | 1:23:02 AM
Re: Few female tech grads
SusanN, 

Yes, the issue certainly starts long before the first job interview. The way parents raise children is mostly what will determine the kind of men/women they will become at the workplace when having to interact with the opposite sex.

So, those men who don't accept women in tech positions most likely were boys who were taught by their parents that girls can't play with toy cars. The issue goes deep into how society has been conveniently molding gender roles. That, I believe, is what needs to be changed first. The question is, how do you do it? :/  

How funny. I had no interest in doll babies either. I was more interested in reading about and observing butterflies, the secret life of insects, conducting little science experiments (not with the butterflies), and investigating how things work. I liked spending time thinking. And people thought I was weird. :D 

-Susan 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 5:58:24 PM
Re: Few female tech grads
@Susan: You nailed it: The issue goes deep into how society has been conveniently molding gender roles. That, I believe, is what needs to be changed first. The question is, how do you fix it?

I wish I had the answer to that question. So much of parenting is about personal choices, and I see some friends who raise their children in very gender neutral environments and others who are all about the girl and boy distinctions in clothing, toys, nursery decor, etc. pretty much from the moment the baby arrives.

I'm not a parent (except to two dogs and two cats). I'd love to hear more from the parents in our community here about their thoughts on the topic.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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8/27/2014 | 2:48:32 AM
Re: Few female tech grads
SusanN, 

"So much of parenting is about personal choices, ... "

Choices and responsibility. Parents need to guide the new beings, but how do they guide them when it's some of them the ones who need guidance in life? Where is parenting school?

If you want to become an engineer you go to university and study engineering and other things. Where do you go and what do you study when you want to become a parent? Learning on the go doesn't seem to work well in most cases. The evidence is all around us in society.

" ... and I see some friends who raise their children in very gender neutral environments and others who are all about the girl and boy distinctions in clothing, toys, nursery decor, etc. pretty much from the moment the baby arrives." 

Raising children in gender neutral environments will result in grown ups with a strong sense of equity, who will not have preference over gender in the work environment neither to assign a postion nor to offer a salary.  

On the other hand, raising children making the old boy-girl distinction will result in what we mostly see in the enterprise and society as a whole today. 

Those who have children, what kind of tomorrow's work force are they raising today?

You hear a lot of people complaining about this. Who does something about it, starting from home? 

Not being a parent doesn't prevent me from having a very strong opinion about parenting. :) What's more, I have thought of writing a book on the topic. 

-SusanF 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/28/2014 | 6:36:10 PM
Re: Few female tech grads
@SusanF: Getting a license to drive an automobile requires more training than becoming a parent does. I've often wondered why basic parenting skills aren't taught in High School. But then I look at news stories about the enormous arguments taking place in the U.S. over whether or not schools should be allowed to teach children about Darwin's Theory of Evolution and I despair. How could we possibly agree on how to teach children about parenting if we can't even agree  how to teach basic science and bilology. Ah, but I suppose this is a discussion for another forum...
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
8/30/2014 | 3:33:06 PM
Re: Few female tech grads
SusanN,

Those arguments-Categorizing Reformers as Left-Wing/Right-Wing make me Laugh usually!

While all this while our Basic Education is going down the Drain.

You see so many Public School Teachers(not all of whom are of the Highest Quality or standard) get tenured with Fat Pensions to Boot for doing basically nothing.

Its really shocking how many Teachers in Big Cities who actually Harm Little Kids(Physically,Mentally and Emotionally) get a Free Pass because they are protected by their Unions.

This Malaise is not limited to just Schools but is the same at most Universities as well.But atleast there Students have a choice about which University to attend ;Here primarily because everything paid for by The Taxpayer directly(Via Taxes) which continue to be extracted from them whether they give consent or not that things get really ,really troublesome.

Regards

Ashish. 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
8/30/2014 | 3:33:07 PM
Re: Few female tech grads
SusanN,

Those arguments-Categorizing Reformers as Left-Wing/Right-Wing make me Laugh usually!

While all this while our Basic Education is going down the Drain.

You see so many Public School Teachers(not all of whom are of the Highest Quality or standard) get tenured with Fat Pensions to Boot for doing basically nothing.

Its really shocking how many Teachers in Big Cities who actually Harm Little Kids(Physically,Mentally and Emotionally) get a Free Pass because they are protected by their Unions.

This Malaise is not limited to just Schools but is the same at most Universities as well.But atleast there Students have a choice about which University to attend ;Here primarily because everything paid for by The Taxpayer directly(Via Taxes) which continue to be extracted from them whether they give consent or not that things get really ,really troublesome.

Regards

Ashish. 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
9/1/2014 | 7:03:39 AM
Re: Few female tech grads
SusanN, 

"Getting a license to drive an automobile requires more training than becoming a parent does."

For anything that requires some responsibility there is a learning process and a test. Why not for parenting is a mystery to me. I would also add a phychological test. 

"I've often wondered why basic parenting skills aren't taught in High School." 

That would be a good start. 

But then I look at news stories about the enormous arguments taking place in the U.S. over whether or not schools should be allowed to teach children about Darwin's Theory of Evolution and I despair."

I haven't heard about that kind of old argument in a long time. But, honestly, if there is still that kind of thinking going on there is nothing we can do about it with our brilliant Susan thinking. :D

-SusanF 

 
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
8/13/2014 | 5:48:08 PM
Re: Few female tech grads

@Rman23a      I experienced the same thing during my studies in MIS.   There were about ten or so women in my class, I wonder how many of them are working in tech today ?   That was in 1997 - It sounds like the numbers are even worse in CS today.

Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/14/2014 | 9:41:20 AM
Re: Few female tech grads
@Technocrati - I believe the percentage of women in tech has grown, but not nearly fast enough considering the many opportunities across all industries within technology. Savvy organizations realize they MUST hire women and minorities, otherwise they'll simply run out of the best-qualified employees! But it's more than that. Several studies demonstrate the benefits an inclusive workforce bring and those organizations that aren't welcoming could well find themselves in trouble eventually when their competitors attract the best and brightest, regardless of gender, ethnicity, color, religion, or other factor.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/18/2014 | 7:06:18 PM
Re: Few female tech grads
@Rman23a: As Alison has posted previously, many groups exist that recruiters can turn to in order to find qualified women. There's some validity to the concern that there aren't enough female candidates for certain tech jobs, and I expect that we will see that changing.

What I find just as troubling among tech companies in particular is how few women are employed even in non-tech jobs. 72% of Apple's leadership is made up of white men, for example.

According to an article in Business Insider: "In companies like Google, Twitter, Yahoo, Facebook and LinkedIn, women account for about half of the non-tech jobs, and about one-third of the total workforce."

 
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