Last week New York Magazine came out with an article called “Bubble Boys” which highlighted the next generation of Mark Zuckerbergs and Steve Jobs that are currently sitting in their college dorms coding. All of the young tech wiz’s featured in the article were male. Rachel Sklar, founder of Change the Ratio, tweeted to the article’s author, “They’re very bright, but no women, nada?” In another tweet she wrote “I know the ratio in Silicon Valley is still skewed very male. But there are plenty of girls in the mix, coding it up too.”
Though Rachel could have probably provided us with a full list of successful young women tech entrepreneurs that can code as well as any of the young men named in the article, it has to be admitted that these women just aren’t on the same level as radar as these young men. Rachel also tweeted after the article came out, ” The cool things women do will always be overlooked if they are always overlooked.” I tried to contact Rachel to comment on this but she never got back to me with her responses.
But how do we get things to change? Instead of just pointing that people are not including women, how do we change the ratio so they simply can’t? Most women who have succeeded in this field say we need to teach women differently early on instead of just complaining about it later. Women are only earning 18% of computer science degrees. That number can only be changed if young girls don’t look at technology as a nerdy field or one that they won’t fit into. Weili Dai, the founder of Marvell Technology, touted as a very powerful woman in the world of technology said women have to start thinking differently from a young age to change these numbers. She told Forbes:
A lot of people believe women can’t do tech-y stuff. Becoming nerdy doesn’t have to mean the short-haired guy, but can be the woman with very long, beautiful hair.
The interest is very important, which is why it needs to start in grades K-12, before college. Let students use technologies in the classroom. And we can make Barbie more high-tech, with some robotic function. Women have their own strengths, like fashion. In technology we can contribute in a big way in terms of the design of the user interface. Apple products are so popular. Why? It’s not just the nerdy technology inside that’s great. It’s about the appearance of the gadget and the ease of use. Females have common-sense insights into that. If we can bring the best of the strengths of males and females, we can do better.
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