This Is A Man’s World
Are Women Not Interested in Tech?
In an internal memo to colleagues at Google, James Damore asserted it was time to be “open about the science of human nature.” He went on to clarify his position, stating “the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes.” This opinion, while it cost him his job, was not far off its mark. Damore didn’t imply that women were less suited or capable, but simply less interested. “These differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership,” a Harvard Business Review agrees.
“Many college majors that lead to high-paying roles in tech and engineering are male dominated, while majors that lead to lower-paying roles in social sciences and liberal arts tend to be female dominated.”
Only 20% of Google engineers are women – a statistic which is roughly equivalent to most big tech companies. And let’s face it, social workers far outnumber positions available, driving the cost of labor the women-dominated industry down. In contrast, men continue to major in higher-paying career pathways. In today’s politically correct culture, it’s a tough pill to swallow.
It’s not about sexism, but choice
Just 30 years ago, US men ages 26-54 outnumbered women 2-1 in postsecondary education. Today, women hold a slight edge. In a 2017 NACE Winter Salary Survey, undergraduates with a computer science degree earned an average $65,540 per year. That’s up from $61,321 in 2016. NACE also projects a Master’s in Computer Science worker, regardless of gender, will earn on average $81,039 in 2019. A doctorate pushes earnings into the six-figure range. That means, if women ever want to compete with men on a level playing field, they’ll need to put aside their attraction to “neuroticism” and address glaring market trends.
Narrowing The Gap
Women in the UK and US make up around 16% of undergraduates in computer science. There is a large number of initiatives in an effort to boost female participation over the past ten years. Still, there are less female undergraduates in the field today – not more. In fact, in the west, female participation in computer science has plunged since the mid-80s. On the other hand, female participation in medicine and other scientific fields has increased steadily. Fortunately for the tech industry, women in India, Malaysia, and Nigeria are narrowing that gap.
Professor Dame Wendy Hall, a director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton noted, “I walk into a classroom in India and it’s more than 50% girls – the same in Malaysia. They are so passionate about coding.”
Pockets of Hope
Though overall US and European statistics for women in technology remain stagnant, there are pockets of hope. At University of Washington, Stanford University, and the University of California, Berkeley, women represent about a third of computer-science students. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 42 percent of computer-science majors are women, up from 34 percent five years ago. The ratio is similar at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, up from seven percent in the 1990s.
This year, more women will graduate with computer-science degrees than men for the second time at Harvey Mudd College, a Southern California school. Alumni include creators (all men) of important web technologies like SQL, Flash and GitHub. Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd, has led an effort to recruit more women. She believes that “Doing so will improve technology for everyone.”
In May 2018, more than 300 female attendees showed up on Mother’s Day to discuss women’s role in blockchain during the Women on the Block Conference, the brainchild of Alexandra Levin-Kramer, ESQ., a partner at CKR Law who also heads the company’s Blockchain Technology & Digital Currency group.
Women and Blockchain
This one-day blockchain conference featured all-women panels and over 50 speakers from more than 13 countries. While the five keynotes and eight-panel discussions were heavily weighted towards cryptocurrency and tokens, one panel, “Blockchain Technology & Smart Contracts” was more focused on the technical aspects of blockchain.
There are a number of notable women who are active in leading projects that are dominating the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. Women are the founders of some of the biggest ICOs, digital currency payment platforms, and blockchain tech development firms. Apart from being part of the evolution and development of the industry, many of them play active roles in improving the adoption of cryptocurrency in mainstream commerce.