Misleading Claims About Tech Companies Hiring More Women Than Men, AA Members in Online Database, Wal Mart's CIO Shares Insights, Springboard's Accelerator Program, and STEAM as the New STEM

Did you know recent media claims about tech companies hiring more women are misleading?

Over the past few weeks, several media outlets have reported that tech companies now seem to be hiring more women than men. At NCWIT, we looked more deeply into this claim as it did not seem to be supported by most of the data we see. Here is what we found: The claim is based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows that, as of September 2013, women accounted for approximately 60% of the increase in jobs in the "computer systems design and related services" industry. Before drawing conclusions from this data point, however, we need to consider several important points. First, this statistic does not distinguish between technical and non-technical jobs. All non-technical jobs would be included in this number, and we know that women account for much higher percentages of jobs in non-technical or less-technical roles, such as marketing, human resources, public relations, and so on. Second, the "computer systems design and related services" industry includes companies that are largely non-technical, such as retail stores that sell technology. Finally, we know that the majority of computing occupations actually lie outside the tech industry (e.g., in healthcare, finance, and other industries). This statistic does not account for any of those jobs. When taking all of these factors into consideration, women continue to hold approximately 26% of technical occupations. This recent confusion points to the importance of carefully examining how these statistics are used and of looking at occupational data rather than industry data when trying to understand women's participation in technology.

For more information, you can also check out this New York Times' article, which provides a good analysis of the Bureau's data.

AA Members Featured in Online College Database

Did you know that several members of the Academic Alliance were recently recognized in the Online College Database as being among 50 colleges working to advance women in STEM? This list was developed using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and using the National Science Foundation’s classification for “STEM.” Take a look at the full list here, which includes information on the number of STEM programs offered at each institution, the number of females enrolled, as well as the percentage of females within these programs.

Wal Mart’s CIO Shares Her Insights

Did you know that Walmart’s Executive VP and CIO, Karenann Terrell, recently sat down with Information Week to share her wisdom about woman in IT? Terrell addressed incoming female IT professionals, as well as her seasoned peers. She talked about her lessons learned as a female IT executive, her work in developing female IT leaders, her insights into the value of risk taking, and much more.

Read Karenann’s full interview here, and learn what Walmart is doing to attract and retain technical women.

To learn more about how you can retain technical women within your organization take a look at NCWIT’s Top 10 Ways Managers Can Retain Technical Women and Top 10 Way to Thrive in Your Technical Career.

Springboard’s Accelerator Program Helping Female Entrepreneurs Succeed

Did you know that a recent Forbes article addresses how Springboard Enterprises is making significant strides toward creating successful female entrepreneurs? Through its accelerator program, Springboard puts select female leaders from young companies through a “boot camp” that is focused on presentational skills. Following boot camp, companies are given the opportunity to present in front of potential investors or partners. Since Springboard’s launch in 2000, over 500 female-led companies have participated in the accelerator program, 83% of which are still active companies. So, what are they doing right? In the article, many participants offered up answers to this question.

Beth Marcus, CEO and President of Playrific, has completed the program twice and states, “No matter how seasoned you are, Springboard offers something new each time you go through the program... Every company is different… It really helps to get a fresh perspective which the Springboard program provides.”

Read the full article to see what others have to say about Springboard.

Could STEAM Be the New STEM?

Did you know that many educators are adopting a new approach to the concept of STEM education? The rising trend is to incorporate the arts into STEM education, resulting in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). Earlier in 2013, Congress created a STEAM caucus with the intention of passing legislation requiring the arts to be integrated into STEM education.  The support for this initiative continues to grow nationwide. MS 534 in Brooklyn is just one of many schools implementing the STEAM concept. Shree Nayer, a computer science professor at Columbia University, developed a camera project with CAE and it is now one of the school’s conducted STEAM activities. “[The idea is] to use the camera as bait to draw the user in and then expose them to as many concepts as possible," Shree said. "One kid may come away being drawn to the sciences, another one may take photography."

Read more about the various ways different organizations are incorporating the arts into their STEM programs here.