I heard a talk from someone at a large game studio, saying they interviewed the successful women in their company to see what they had in common, and there were some great insights there. But I also think you need to talk to the women who leave, and find out why.
Audience, we'd also like to hear from you: Which companies are really making an effort to recruit women for STEM jobs?
check out Liz Crawford at Birchbox
Yes, @Melanie, I agree. Emphasizing traditional credentials is going to make the field less diverse.
I actually landed in tech by accident. I was hired as an affiliate manager for a small start up - it was an entry level position and my natural proficiency in html coding got me the job. I was lucky to get mentored by manager, he nurtured my talent around understanding the economics of the internet and how to get the right message to the right person at the right time. This was in 1997.
I learned HTML and JS on my own, and then the career opportunity happened. I was curious about the web and how it worked. I was able to find information and learned how to start my own website. As I mentioned and still think today, the internet is the great equalizer. Women need to be made aware of this.
Mentorship has a couple of different aspects:
- Transparency: Sharing what it takes to move forward, and also the benefits.
and making the work environment comfortable.
Melanie, I agree, but independent learning is not for everyone. Especially with highly technical skills.
Also, there's one from a conference: PyCon (big conference for the Python programmming language) had only 1% female speakers in 2011, but grew it to 33% this year.
They did this with a lot of concerted outreach, and changing the way they evaluated talk proposals.
PyCon tried really hard to find more female speakers but they had a really hard time...
I have a friend who is a brain surgent; they bring in high school groups to brain surgeries to have a live experience. I think this is a good way to engage young people while exposing the experience no matter which field it is, arts, marketing, software development. Expose use of technology via live experience and relate to everyday life.
I would be wary about groups that try really hard to get more female programmers. As I stated before, I want a job because I am hands down the most qualified. By higher someone because they are a girl, and maybe not the most qualified, companies can perpetuate the stereotype that females are not as strong programmers than men. I have been told by other students at my school that I probably got an internship at Twitter because they needed more girls. That was absolutely the worst feeling, so I work extra hard to prove that I deserve everything I have.
A lot of the Ladies Learning Code learners come for the in-person, collaborative learning environment that you don't get with online learning.
@Kim - I was at that talk with Kristine, she had a great quote "You are where you are meant to be" that I really took from that chat
I think it's not about lowering standards, @Jen. It's about recognizing that more kinds of people have something to contribute to the tech field than the stereotypical nerdy guy who started when he was 7.
What Google did with publishing their numbers was a good first step, acknowledging!
Jen, women are often less likely to put their hand up for these opportunities. Conferences etc. need to do specific outreach to encourage women to attend as experts.
Lets talk industry potential. Where do you see the most potential for women in STEM? Do any particular industries or employers stand out?
I tend to agree with @Jen here. Gender shouldn't be the success factor in getting hired. However, educating tech companies with male dominated management to break through the stereotypes and make the work environment welcoming is also important.
The way tech job postings are written seem to be intended to discourage as many people as possible!
@Tendu - I found some more data about tech company numbers:
But a lack of diversity can be really harmful to a teams success.
I would say IT, particularly cloud computing and services online/mobile/wearables is the biggest opportunity for all.
@Laura - you're so right! But why aren't there efforts to get more men involved in women dominated fields?
Google have taken a big step as have others in the valley by disclosing it gender ratios...didnt paint them in a very good light, but they got the discussion going
Awareness is the first step to change. So very good on Google for doing this.