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What Role Should Women Play in Tech?

Posted by Gaby Isturiz on September 6, 2017 at 12:10 PM


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have likely heard about the Googler who posted an internal memo criticizing the company’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, and attributing the gender gap in tech to “biological differences” between men and women. The public leak of the memo brought about criticism, fury, and many conversations about diversity and gender discrimination. The engineer who authored the document was ultimately fired for “advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

The topic of women in tech has received frequent coverage in the mainstream media over the past several months. It started with Susan Fowler. Then, continued with stories of harassment and discrimination from several women, pushing high-ranking executives out of their roles and forcing resignations across tech and venture capital firms. The fallout is said to be the result of “bro culture,” which has reached its tipping point.

While many have expressed disagreement with the ideas put forth in the Google memo, namely that women are biologically positioned to be inferior tech workers, discrimination and harassment is both real and regularly occurring. While many tech firms tout strong company cultures, that doesn’t always mean that the corporate environment is friendly to gender or racial diversity - and that’s the problem.

The Importance of Diversity in Tech

Simply put, tech needs to figure this out. Diversity is critical to achieving the missions widely adopted by the tech world - to improve life for the masses and change the world. Change and improvement do not happen without a rich composition of various viewpoints. In tech, the need for gender and racial diversity is not a politically-correct “nice to have,” they are crucial to the success of the industry and the future of innovation.

Right now, women are taking a stand against this kind of behavior - and hopefully that will continue. Many, however, will decide that putting up with “bro culture” day in and day out isn’t worth it. Women leave the industry at twice the rate men do.

As a woman engineer leading a tech company, this makes my heart hurt. Emotions aside, there are real consequences to both companies and the economy as a whole when workplace diversity is not a priority.

A diverse workplace:

  • Leads to an increase in GDP
  • Increased market share
  • Establishes a more qualified workforce
  • Spurs creativity and innovation
  • Drives competitiveness

Not only are women capable of contributing in the tech world, they are necessary in order to ensure future growth and development. However, there is a need for an extreme rehabilitation of bro culture in order for women to decide that a career in tech is worth their time, rather than taking their talents elsewhere.

What role should women play in tech? They should be embraced as the leaders and innovators that they are. But first, we must all stand for women by displaying zero tolerance for discrimination and harassment.

If you are as passionate about this topic as we are, you might be interested in some of our other posts exploring the intersection of women and tech: 

Topics: Women in STEM, women in tech, diversity

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