March 16, 2012
A new Harvard Business Review blog post summarizes the results of a survey of 7,280 leaders on the topic of leadership effectiveness. Not surprisingly, it shows that “the majority of leaders (64%) are still men. And the higher the level, the more men there are.”
There is some good news though:
"But the women’s advantages were not at all confined to traditionally women’s strengths. In fact at every level, more women were rated by their peers, their bosses, their direct reports, and their other associates as better overall leaders than their male counterparts — and the higher the level, the wider that gap grows." (See chart above.)
"Specifically, at all levels, women are rated higher in fully 12 of the 16 competencies that go into outstanding leadership. And two of the traits where women outscored men to the highest degree — taking initiative and driving for results — have long been thought of as particularly male strengths."
March 1, 2012
…there’s a lot of room for improvement.
1990 - 9% of patents issued to U.S. inventors granted to women.
2010 - 18% of patents issued to U.S. inventors granted to women.
Keep working, gals!
January 11, 2012
Research on the gender gap has led us to believe that it is largely due to things women do or don’t do, that result in disparate compensation and career advancement. New findings from the Catalyst report, The Myth of the Ideal Worker suggests that even when women do everything “right” (e.g., ask/negotiate for raises, change jobs for better opportunities, etc.) they still lag behind similar men.
“Catalyst’s research on high potentials in the workplace reinforces one core finding: gender gap can’t be explained away by women’s preferences or actions. It’s time for companies to find, and fix, bias in the system.”
October 5, 2011
Yes, we’re months late on this, but we don’t really care. What these three girls did is totally awesome! *Applause* Hopefully this will be the first of many more such outcomes at the Google Science Fair, and other STEM/tech-related competitions.
September 15, 2011
It comes up a lot in discussions of women in computer science, women who write code, women in open source. Eventually, someone brings up the fact that women score slightly lower on math tests. Clearly, they claim, this biological inferiority must explain why there are fewer women in math heavy fields.
It sounds like a compelling reason, and it gets a lot of play. Except, you know what? It’s a lie.
I’m a mathematician. I’ve looked at those numbers, I’ve read some papers. The research into biologically-linked ability is fascinating, but it simply isn’t significant enough to explain the huge gender gap we see in the real world. I used to do this presentation on the back of a napkin for people who tried to spout this misconception to my face, and I finally put it online:
How does biology explain the low numbers of women in CS? Hint: it doesn’t.
We need to get girls interested in computing by first grade. By fifth grade, it’s game over. Computing has an image crisis. A boy geek subculture has grown up around gaming that involves violence. It’s not something little girls aspire to. It’s not about lack of educational opportunities for women. Smart girls graduate from high school with straight A’s, go to college, and find themselves surrounded by guys who’ve been hacking for 10 years. So they’re way behind. They get discouraged, and go into law or medicine.
September 1, 2011
August 30, 2011
Bryn Mawr College alumna, Julia Ferraioli, was recently featured as Geek of the Week on GeekWire.com. She was also mentioned in this excellent article on the importance of creating educational environments where women not only go into STEM fields, but thrive and excel in them. From the article:
"When we ask our STEM majors what it is about Bryn Mawr that encourages them to pursue these male-dominated fields we consistently hear two things – being exposed to role models among our faculty, alumnae, and their fellow students, and the positive effect of being in a classroom in which they aren’t the lone woman." ~Closing the Gap
[…]computer science classes remain almost as gender segregated as the original Apollo program. Only 19 percent of those who took the computer science A.P. exam in 2010 were women. This is not because women think “math class is tough,” as a Barbie once famously, and unfortunately, lamented; girls actually sat for 49 percent of A.P. calculus tests.
Many well-meaning approaches to this problem are inflicted with the “deficit model” which asks what’s wrong with girls instead of what’s wrong with the way computer science is taught, practiced and perceived. Addressing why bright young woman gravitate toward other majors will not just diversify the field and increase the supply of students, but also improve the way programming is taught and practiced.
June 25, 2011
A follow-up to a post from a while back about the rising number of students choosing to major in computer science. The original article led to a series of commentaries on the NYT’s “Room for Debate” forum. In her response, from which the above quote is excerpted, Dr. Tufekci highlights a few of the reasons why gender is a relevant factor in recruiting new blood to the tech field.
Dr. Tufekci is a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is fascinated by how technology and society co-evolve and is currently studying the social and cultural impacts of social computing. Prior to her current career path, Dr. Tufekci was a web programmer, so she has first-hand experience of her topic. Check out her awesomely nerdy blog.