A few years ago, it was noted that women in IT were not only few and far between, but even the highly successful ladies were strangely silent on this. Industry leaders vowed that they would take greater strides to balance the gender scales, and they did. Soon upstart companies were being formed exclusively employing women, and the companies are competing with others in their league well.
But one investor at Bloomberg Capital summed up the situation quite well by saying, “We don’t want to be seen as crazy bitches moaning about the same issue,” concerning women in Venture Capital. Author Jenn Wei, says that many women in top positions are very well aware of gender imbalance issue, but (She) is hesitant to speak out too loudly or often, “overplaying the victim card,” as she says it.
And, although the actual statistical numbers are increasing, it’s still harder for a woman in technology to prove themselves. By industry standards, a very well educated and experienced “full stack” engineer, Stephanie Volfstun, could demand a salary in the 100K+ range, but started her own business rather than have to prove herself by working at a male dominated company. In her experience, she claimed, “It was harder for me to gain the same level of respect my male peers had.”
But then Ms. Volfstun broke the mold, and is outspoken, perhaps even a little cocky…not the quiet, demur, lady that is expected by most men. But then, most highly successful women in IT see any kind of attention to the reality of the gender imbalance as an affront…many believe that gender should be a non-issue. That is in a perfect world, but given the rate of increase of women in IT, which the industry leaders have inspired since making the promise, the future of women in IT appears to be a long struggle…
According to the Author of this article, Christina Farr, there are a few hurdles that that need to be cleared in the process…and I agree with her. Assertiveness in business, more women in the science and engineering fields, female mentors are in short supply, discrimination, and problems fundraising. Many of these problems though, are dependent on the success of the resolution of one, (or more,) of the other hurdles.
- Assertiveness comes with confidence…confidence is bolstered through approval from peers…
- Women are desperately needed in the engineering and computer science fields…with more graduates comes a wider support base for morale building…see above
- Female Mentors…with a larger population of graduates, there will (naturally) come leaders and highly successful women…
- Discrimination: A larger population of peers will help to start. There are companies though, that employ women exclusively.
- Fundraising…confidence, morale, and aggressiveness are necessities in fundraising. As you can see, this relies on success in point 1.
As you can see the entire future of women in IT relies on the “power in numbers” rule. In the meantime it would help if more highly successful leading women, (and men,) took up the banner to balance the scales.