Here is a really interesting article about the strides that are being made to help stop the declining numbers of women in tech jobs. Mostly the article highlights mentorships that are available in the STEM fields.
But let me take this one step further. Do you remember in sixth grade when the boys and the girls were separated to talk about penises and vaginas, and wet dreams and periods? Maybe the boys in the tech fields should be taken aside for a hardcore boot camp of sensitivity training towards gender issues; and maybe, just maybe, corporate policies should be enforced by managers and the high level executives who supervise these managers. Maybe this type of corporate training shouldn’t be done in mixed gender rooms, and maybe it should be a cultural change not just a corporation change. (And one more) Maybe, just maybe, there should be some corporate psychologists on staff who are experts in dealing with both harasser and harassed, who could help define training that would ACTUALLY be beneficial, and not just a 2 hour thing you sit through because you have to.
The harassment of women in industry (of any type) will not stop until there are men who stand up against the vitriol from the other men who are afraid of losing their jobs to women. Sadly, this might not happen until there’s more than just a couple of men willing to stand up.
…it doesn’t matter how many mentorships there are, if the culture doesn’t change, the women techies won’t want to put up with the degradation and humiliation of being harassed.
With prominent executives like Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg in the headlines, it’s easy to assume that women are closing the gender gap in the tech industry. In reality, the number of computing jobs held by women is down, from 35 percent in 1990 to 26 percent, as reported in a recent study.
It’s also apparent where the discrepancy starts, with computer science graduation rates for women down from nearly 14 percent in 2009 to 11 percent a year later.
To reverse this trend, recruitment and mentorship efforts are being ramped up at the base of the “pipeline” — in high school and college — and into the workplace.
Examples of these heightened efforts are the national Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) programs, with chapters in top tech schools like MIT, Stanford, and USC. These programs offer lab tours, hands-on activities, and mentorship opportunities for high school girls. They, and similar one-to-one mentorships, highlight the often overlooked aspects of engineering and computer science.
This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to follow on Twitter; or you can follow her at The Crafty Veteran on Bloglovin. You can also follow her writing about women veteran interests at Shield Sisters