In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal Google vice president Marissa Mayer said the most important thing for women in technology is to make sure they are genuinely passionate about technology. In other words they need to be a geek. She considers herself to just be a geek working at Google, not a woman in technology working at Google.
There were 5% less women with computer jobs in 2009 than in 2000 and less women are earning degrees in computer science as well than they were in 2000. So, yes, there is a declining number of women going into this field but at the same time Mayer points out that there are less people in general going into the field.
Both Mayer and Jen Fitzpatrick, a vice president who works under Mayer, said they think the onslaught of more modern, social media technology companies like Facebook and Twitter have also helped and will help to attract more women. “When I was growing up I knew one computer scientist, who worked at J.C. Penney’s catalog system. Now we have Google, Facebook, Twitter and others touching the lives of girls in middle school and you have people saying, ‘Well, gosh, how do you build that?’”, said Mayer.
They said the biggest challenge for women in technology is that it is very fast paced so if you have to leave for a period of time, perhaps to start a family, it can be very difficult to come back in and not be behind.