Board Diversity, Why Computer Science Matters, 10 Male Allies, Difference Makers in Tech, Women in K-12 Leadership, Why Women Leave Tech

Board Diversity

A report released by Institutional Shareholder Services on September 25th, called “Gender Diversity on Boards: a Review of Global Trends,” showed that, “board diversity is steadily increasing year-on-year.” Specifically, “nearly 30% of new board nominees at S&P 500 companies were women, up from 15% in 2008.” An article from Fortune about the report noted, “the software and services industry had women comprising 16.3% of its board members on average between 2008 and 2014, while the technology hardware and equipment sector had a 13.6% average.”

NCWIT’s “What is the Impact of Gender Diversity on Technology Business Performance” includes a number of findings related to diversity on boards. One in particular reads, “A study of 101 public, private, and non-profit organizations found that those with three or more women on their executive boards outperformed other companies on all of the study’s measures of performance: leadership, direction, accountability, coordination and control, external orientation, capability, work environment, and values.”

Why Computer Science Matters

Annie Murphy Paul recently profiled the Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software project (HFOSS) for the Hechinger Report. In her article, Paul explained that HFOSS is a project that “brings together students eager to solve real-world problems with social service agencies desperate for their help.” HFOSS was started at Trinity College, an NCWIT Academic Alliance member. According to Paul, the program aims to “draw a more diverse group of students to computer science — young people, including women and minorities, who might find the prospect of helping people in need around the globe more appealing than learning programming for its own sake.” Paul also notes a that second goal of the program is to "counter misconceptions about what computer programmers actually do.” Paul’s article includes links to related articles from the past few years about specific projects that are part of HFOSS.

NCWIT’s “Strategic Planning for Recruiting Women into Undergraduate Computing,” includes worksheets and templates as well as tips for messaging that will resonate with women. One suggestion is to promote computing jobs to women as being socially relevant, and to remind prospective students that “computing today is a component in solving many of the world’s problems.”

10 Male Allies

NCWIT Chief Strategy and Growth Officer Ruthe Farmer published a blog on TechCrunch earlier this month titled, “10 Men Making Waves for Women in Tech.” Inspired to write the piece after the United Nations unveiled their HeForShe campaign, Farmer highlighted a group of male advocates and their efforts for women in computing and IT. On the need for male advocacy she wrote, “Expecting the minority group to do all the outreach and mentoring to increase their own participation is a losing proposition.” She continued, “we all make and inhabit the culture of our industry, and we all need to participate in fixing it. Men are an essential part of the solution.”

Know men in your own community who could be great allies for women in tech? Awesome - let's give them tools to make waves! Check out "8 Ways to Increase Male Advocacy," an NCWIT resource that includes tips on everything from raising awareness to activism. Additional NCWIT resources on Male Allies and Advocates can be found on our website.

Difference Makers in Tech

A recent article from TechRepublic, “40 under 40: Real Difference Makers in Tech and Business,” profiled “leaders affecting change and making positive impacts on the world.” The author, Lyndsey Gilpin, wrote, ”They are social entrepreneurs, clean energy leaders, tech startup founders, CEOs, and other influential characters in business. There are some who have made waves this year, and others who have flown under the radar. Either way, we think you should know about them.” A number of NCWIT members are featured, including representatives from TaskRabbit, Girls Who Code, Google, GoldieBlox, and Kiva, among others.

Check out the entire list and then check out this great NCWIT resource that you can download and print, which offers, “5 Reasons You Should Work at a Startup.” One reason: “Women at startups report even more job satisfaction and better opportunities to grow than women at big companies.”

Women in K-12 Leadership

In mid-September, CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) released the findings of its IT Leadership Survey. In their report, CoSN emphasized one major finding: “Men are in more leadership positions and earn more money, yet women are better educated, have been in the field longer, and have held leadership positions for longer.” In an Education Week article about the report, Benjamin Harold wrote, “Female technology leaders working for U.S. school districts appear to earn less money than their male counterparts and face more limited access to the top positions in their field — despite tending to be more experienced and equally, if not better, credentialed.”

NCWIT’s report “Women in IT: The Facts,” has a section on the wage gap in tech, beginning on page 17. The report also includes a number of suggestions related to mentorship and professional development in the workplace, including the suggestion to create “specific opportunities for leadership and management development.”

Why Women Leave Tech

One of the most popular articles shared by NCWIT on social media this month, was “Why Women Leave Tech: It's the Culture, not Because 'Math is Hard,” from Fortune. Kieren Snyder wrote about a month-long project in which she “collected stories from 716 other women who have left the tech industry.” Those interviewed by Snyder, “shared their single biggest reason for leaving, their current employment status, and their desire (or not) to return to tech.” Some of the reasons for leaving given to Snyder included lack of flexibility, insufficient pay, and discrimination. Snyder concluded that while the pipeline into careers is important, so are efforts to retain technical women already in the industry. She wrote, “Women are leaving tech because they’re unhappy with the work environment, not because they have lost interest in the work.”

NCWIT’s “Top 10 Ways Mangers can Retain Technical Women,” offers tips that supervisors can use to improve retention. One suggestion: “Keep track of which employees get which roles. If patterns emerge, ask whether these patterns are based on actual ability or if they might be based on unconscious assumptions.”