More Women in Tech Means More Input on What Matters to Them

Amanda White
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A developer recently told me that women make better developers. He didn’t elaborate on why he thought that, but as a woman, I’d like to think our awesomeness has something to do with it. Well, that, and our ability to better multitask. But I could be a little biased.

I came across a recent article on NPR about the shortage of women in tech. It describes the plight of Maria Klawe, who is president of Harvey Mudd College. She’s going out of her way to get more female students to take an interest in computer science and she’s making sure they stick with it through conferences and research opportunities.

So why is it so important for women to take a bigger role in the tech space? Simply put: to have more input in the agenda and products that we use in everyday life, as the article’s author points out. Women can certainly bring different insight to the table when it comes to the design and development of products. As one male student at Harvey Mudd said in the article:

"Women and men work through problems in very different ways … Men will oftentimes just try to pound through a problem, and then one of the women will be, 'Wait, hold on, how about if I ask this question?'"

But the challenges don’t end once you land that IT job, ladies. To have input, you’ve got to make sure you have a voice in a male-dominated landscape, and not be scared of self-promotion.

As if reading my mind, just this morning, Don Tennant wrote a post for IT Business Edge, “The Art of Being Noticed as a Woman in IT.” In it, he interviews Debora McLaughlin, author of the upcoming book “Running in High Heels.” McLaughlin talks about the importance of being heard and getting noticed without coming across as a braggart.

Don’s post also reminded me of a book excerpt located in our IT Downloads library. It’s from the book, “The High-Heeled Leader: Embrace Your Feminine Power In Life And Work.” The excerpt discusses positive traits that can lead to a culture of collaboration and sustainability, as well as tips for building networks and finding your voice as a business leader.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
May 3, 2013 12:43 PM Loraine Lawson Loraine Lawson  says:
Excellent point: I suspect as more women enter the field, we'll see new products and services designed to address female-specific problems. Since we're approximately 50 percent of the population, that's a smart business move. Reply
May 8, 2013 2:23 AM kevinjmireles kevinjmireles  says:
My daughter and her friends created a piezoelectric ipod charger for a science project, but when I told her she should think about engineering, she looked at me like I was crazy, "that's for unsocial geeks in glasses"- basically uncool unsocial and very ungirl like. Of course when I pointed out what she and her friends had done was engineering, she looked at me as if the two concepts didn't compute. And that's the fundamental problem the stereotype of the lone hacker or bunch of guy hackers turns most girls off - even if the work doesn't.. Unless people see people who look like them, they assume it's not for them, so we need to make engineering and IT cool - featured in girl-oriented media and in a way that speaks to their desires in a way that all the encouragement from dad can't. Reply

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