G33K Girls..gotta love’em

Women face a special series of gender related barriers to entry and success in scientific careers that persist, despite recent advances.Athena Unbound, Henry Etzkowitz, Carol Kemelgor, Brian Uzzi

Not to keep stealing from John’s blog, but it got me thinking about the “state of women” in technology.  

As contrived as that may sound, there remains contradictory data on the rise/fall/stalemate of this group in this arena. Two weeks ago, I hear that it’s the hottest trend – one week ago, I read that there’s a decline – talk about schizophrenic data.

But, I do want to pose the question: “Where my ladies at?”

Sure, I’m not an engineer or programmer, and I don’t claim to be on the same technical level by any means.  Yet, I would like to think that I could keep the conversation moving. Plus, always a great opportunity to learn something new (i.e. “where are the cluster codes?!”)

In thinking of this proposed “gender gap”, I look at technology as the one area where the boy’s only club rule need not apply (unless you’re in Vegas for CES). Nothing mind-blowing here, but why is it such a surprise when a girl can speak intelligently about social media or describe transistors or know Drupal/RoR/Python etc..? Are there really not enough ladies out there, or, are we just simply too shy to speak up?

I’m not calling for a revolutionary feminist tech movement – been there done that; I just want to know where you are. I’ve been to several of the meet-ups and tech happy hours – and it’s at best 70:30. I was ecstatic to see more ladies at the Startup Bar Hunt last Saturday, but I know there are more of you out there.

Sure there are notable tech ladies out there:

  • 1997: Anita Borg (1949-2003), the founding director of the Institute for Women and Technology (IWT)
  • 2005: Mary Lou Jepsen (1965-), Founder and chief technology officer of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)
  • 2008: iJustine J – Star of iJustine.tv (who I admittedly didn’t know existed pre-SXSW – SORRY, my bad)

Just seems very disparate and disjointed. Or maybe, that’s just in Austin. Know that the ladies of the Austin Technology Council are doing a fine job in their efforts, but where is our version of GeekGirls.org?Don’t get me wrong, I heart the guys I’ve met and who have taken me under their wings – I just like to bring people together. And nothing beats geek girls and nerd dudes combining forces!







2 Responses

  1. Great post Kristine! I have to say, however, that I think there are probably plenty of women in communications that work on the peripherals of technology. Just at WE, there are probably a couple hundred women with an average to above average acumen in tech issues.

    IMHO, every industry with a large gender discrepancy (e.g. Technology, PR, etc.) needs to closely examine the barriers to entry for the under-represented gender and evaluate how the current trends could possibly be reversed to provide better balance.

    Anyway just my 2 cents.

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