New Efforts Seek to Encourage Women to Enter IT

Susan Hall

Back in December, ZDNet blogger Violet Blue went on a long-winded rant about media reporting on the need for more women in tech without saying why that's important.

 

Railing about All Things Digital's Kara Swisher's railing about the lack of women directors at hot Web 2.0 companies, Blue wrote:

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Swisher, for instance, could have told us that companies with a larger percentage of women directors increase share price growth. That the top quarter of Fortune 500 companies with gender diversity outperformed those in the bottom quarter with a 53 percent higher return on equity. And that firm outperformance seems to happen once there are at least three female directors in the boardroom. Then she could have backed these assertions up with studies and hard data. They never tell us this.

And a commenter who signed on as "immunity" made an important point:

Just like medicine, law, and other male-dominated fields, having more women in tech gives dreams to little girls everywhere who want to be something when they grow up. ...We need more women in tech because the generation in high school, middle school now need the role models my generation did not have the chance to have. We need to reassure the youth you do have choices in life and you are as smart as the boys club.

We've covered efforts to boost the number of women in tech, from mentorships being offered to women from predominately Muslim countries to Computer Engineer Barbie.

 

I've come across several new efforts lately:


 

  • The site womenworking.com has produced a video touting STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) careers that features girls front and center. The students are exploring alternative sources of energy by converting french-fry grease into fuel to power a car. It's distributing the video to schools and after-school programs around the country, starting this month.

 

  • The Ada Initiative launched Tuesday to increase participation of women in open technology and culture, including open source software, Wikipedia and other open data projects and open social media. Among its projects are plans for First Patch Week, a week in which companies and communities sponsor female open source software developers while they write and submit their first patch.

 

 

And check out this research highlighted by the American Association of University Women suggeting that environmental barriers can be removed.



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