Millennial Women and Sexism in the Workplace, Progress with Women in CS Studies, Lessons Learned From Female ICT Professionals, Google’s Efforts To Increase Number of Female Entrepreneurs, Teach Code Without a Computer, It’s Also a Culture Problem

Millennial Women and Sexism in the Workplace

According to the latest survey conducted by Pew Research, 51% of Millennial women believe society favors men over women, and 75% say that changes must be made in the workplace in order to achieve gender equality. “While the public sees greater workplace equality between men and women now than it did 20 to 30 years ago, most believe more change is needed.”

This Forbes article compares American Millennials to their British counterparts, suggesting that American Millennials aren’t relating broad social beliefs to their individual work experiences. For example, 15% of American Millennial women report facing gender discrimination in their careers, compared to 42% of Millennial women in the UK. The article states, “...sexual harassment in the American workplace has been downgraded as a serious issue, and ... young women are bombarded with messages that identifying, reporting or drawing attention to workplace sexism will prove both ineffectual and career-hampering.”

The survey conducted by Pew Research also examines gender discrimination at the workplace in comparison to societal attitudes stating, “women who report being the victims of workplace gender discrimination are significantly more likely than other women or men to say the country hasn’t made enough changes to address gender bias in the workplace and, more broadly, in society as a whole.”

Take a look at NCWIT’s “How Can Reducing Unconscious Bias Increase Women's Success in IT? Avoiding Gender Bias in Recruitment/Selection Processes (Case Study 2)” for tips on avoiding unconscious bias in the hiring process to ultimately have a more diverse workforce.

Colleges and Universities Make Progress with Women in CS Studies

Did you know that some colleges and universities across the U.S. show progress in increasing the number of women studying CS? Harvey Mudd College -- which is run by a female computer scientist -- has seen female enrollment reach 43%, Stanford University has jumped from single digits to 23% in the area of female CS graduates, and UC Berkeley saw women outnumber men last spring in one of its CS intro courses.

Why the increase? For Stanford, perhaps it has to do in part with the recent overhaul of its curriculum, which aims to draw clear connections between computer science and “real-world work.” Many social scientists, including Jane Margolis of UCLA, have found that “women are more interested than men in seeing the connections between their computer work and society as a whole. How does computing help propel medicine forward, for instance, or support the arts or lead to deeper space exploration?”

This article explores several recruitment initiatives that higher education institutions are using to address gender diversity in STEM fields. Check out over 50 NCWIT resources related to recruiting and retaining undergraduates in computing.

Lessons Learned From Female ICT Professionals

Did you know that Kathy Brown, CEO of Internet Society, recently shared some insights from her female colleagues in tech? These women are veterans of the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) field and have summarized their years of experience into three important lessons:

  1. There's tremendous power in establishing and building community.

  2. Technology isn't just for engineers.

  3. ICT is actually a “people” job.

Kathy states, “I can speak from experience when I say that, in the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) sector, opportunities abound for collaboration, a deeper connection to community, and a strong sense of having a very real impact on your world.” Continue reading here to learn more about these lessons learned.

Google’s Efforts To Increase Number of Female Entrepreneurs

Did you know that Google recently partnered with tech incubator 1871 to launch their new initiative, FEMtech? The goal of FEMtech is to provide financial assistance to 10-15 female-led tech startups every year for the foreseeable future. Google has donated $1 million to this effort with the goal of increasing the number of women in tech by 25% and launching 40 of these incubators.

According to this article, “About 28 percent of the teams or companies at 1871 have a woman among their founders, and Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871, says the success rate of tech startups with women is about 30 percent higher than startups overall.”

Want more women at your tech startup? Review NCWIT’s Tips for Startups, a series of action items to help you implement or improve recruitment and retention practices, avoid unconscious bias, manage talent, and more.

Teach Code Without a Computer

Did you know it’s possible to teach coding without a computer? Many K-12 teachers  and non-profits in support of introducing kids to computing early on are teaching “CS Unplugged.” Coding without a computer allows all students to learn the basic building blocks of computer science, regardless of the amount of computer hardware or software available.

In this article, Gretchen LeGrand, from Code in the Schools, talks about challenges she has experienced when it comes to teaching coding due to a lack of up-to-date technology in schools. “The computers are old or outdated. We either can't install the software we want to use to teach computer programming or the connection's slow.”

NCWIT’s “Computer Science-in-a-Box: Unplug Your Curriculum” provides great tips to unplug your CS curriculum and teach students the fundamentals of coding without using computers. Consider how accessible resources like this might impact your community.

It’s Also a Culture Problem

As many of you know, the media widely reports the lack of women in technology as a pipeline problem. However, recent headlines about GitHub have drawn attention to the retention issue after developer and designer Julie Ann Horvath publically accused the company of allowing “aggressive” culture.

"There's been excusing of the lack of women in Silicon Valley as a pipeline issue," said Kelly Dermody, Chair of Employment Practices of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein law firm. "That's such an invalid excuse. The issue is the companies are suffering from gender blindness. They are not inclusive."

Consistent with prior research, the Center for Talent Innovation identifies uncomfortable work cultures as one of the reasons why women leave SET companies. The Center’s report, Athena Factor 2.0, describes this nuance as a “hostile macho culture” in which “women in SET are marginalized by lab-coat, hard-hat, and geek workplace cultures that are often exclusionary and promulgate bias.”

Address unconscious bias and institutional barriers that affect everyday job functions like hiring, evaluation performance, team management, and more with NCWIT’s Supervising-in-a-Box series. Also, stay tuned for new NCWIT video resources on unconscious biases in technical workplaces.