Gender Bias: Is Your IT Group Guilty? - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // IT Strategy
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8/11/2014
08:06 AM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata
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Gender Bias: Is Your IT Group Guilty?

When it comes to gender bias, a recent InformationWeek flash poll suggests that IT groups may be slightly less discriminatory than the tech industry in general. But there's still plenty of work to be done.

Gender diversity is a hot topic among tech companies these days, and the statistics are grim: Males dominate the global workforces at all the tech companies that have revealed their diversity data this year.

We wondered if the same was true for IT in general. Are IT organizations in major commercial enterprises, healthcare organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions as male-dominated as the tech companies from which they source their products?

The results of a recent InformationWeek flash poll might lead us to believe that IT organizations across industry verticals are less discriminatory when it comes to gender than their tech-only counterparts.

More than 3,000 of you responded to our flash poll, Gender Discrimination IT, between July 1 and August 7, 2014. In response to the question "Do you believe you've ever witnessed gender discrimination in IT?" more than half of you said you have either witnessed it or been a victim of it. Just under half (48.75%) said no, indicating you've not witnessed gender discrimination in IT.

Table 1: Do you believe you've ever witnessed gender discrimination in IT?
Response % Respondents
Yes, I've seen it 34.53%
Yes, and I've been a victim of it 16.72%
Source: InformationWeek Flash Poll, "Gender Discrimination in IT," June 1-August 7, 2014; 3,235 respondents.

As with all forms of discrimination, gender bias can be blatant or it can be subtle. So while those respondents who say they've never witnessed it may be fortunate enough to work for truly enlightened companies, it's also possible that the sexism was so de facto that they didn't even recognize it. Likewise, those who say they have witnessed or experienced gender discrimination may have in fact been harmed by some insidious displays of gender bias, without experiencing behavior that egregious enough to prompt legal action (more on that later).

One blatant -- and illegal -- form of gender discrimination is pay disparity. Unless you're sharing your paystubs with your co-workers, you may not even be aware that unequal pay for equal work exists at your organization.

[Help equalize the tech gender gap by encouraging young women's' interest in STEM. Here are 12 great resources: 12 STEM Resources For Young Women.]

Salary disparity is a very real fact of life, however, for many women in IT. According to the InformationWeek 2014 US IT Salary Survey, the median total compensation for a female IT staffer is $81,000. For male counterparts it's $94,000, a difference of $13,000. That's a significant gap.

That pay gap is echoed in compensation for managers, with median total compensation for men at $122,000, versus $110,000 for women. (If you're looking to increase your earnings in IT, check out these negotiating tactics from Joan C. Williams, distinguished professor and founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at University of California's Hastings College of the Law.)

Perhaps even more indicative of the gender gap in IT is the difference in the number of men and women responding to our 2014 IT Salary Survey. Nearly nine out of 10 (87%) of the 5,717 IT managers and 85% of the 5,945 IT staff respondents were male.

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Susan Nunziata leads the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community.Nunziata was most recently Director of Editorial for EnterpriseEfficiency.com, a UBM ... View Full Bio
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Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/11/2014 | 11:55:27 AM
Tech Co vs. Tech Department
I wonder if there are discernable differences if you work at a technology company (which focuses exclusively on tech -- such as a developer or integrator) vs. working in the tech department of a different type of business (such as healthcare, retail, or education)?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/18/2014 | 4:53:10 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Alison: Based on what I was able to glean from the stats released by the tech companies compared with the gender stats from our own salary survey (which included non-tech companies), I'd speculate that they're pretty close. though it does seem, based on the diversity figs released, hat tech companies skew higher in male employees even in non-tech jobs, and I can't say with any certainty that this is the case for jobs in non-tech companies. Will see what additional info I can find on that point...
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/18/2014 | 4:56:10 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Yes, that's what I figured out too from the info some companies made available. Even in their overall employee base, hiring leans strongly toward white male although it's not as disproportionate as tech professionals.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/13/2014 | 9:52:16 AM
Re: Gender Bias
Apple announced its employee mix today (or yesterday) and it's more of the same, unfortunately. On the plus side, Tim Cook stated it's a priority for him to improve the diversity mix at Apple. In reporting on this issue for years, I've discovered that companies which really emphasize and support diversity do a good job of meeting that goal. IBM, for example, has a rich heritage in supporting women across technology and business roles, and has a much higher mix of women and non-white males in its staff and management. EMC also has a big, ongoing diversity initiative. 

In both these companies' cases, they have a high-level exec whose sole responsibility is to improve hiring and retention of a diverse workforce, and that includes making sure diverse employees have the resources and support they need once they enter the workforce at this business. IBM, for example, has many groups for women, women of color, Hispanics, etc., leveraging perhaps its global presence. The company supports women in tech organizations, such as Anita Borg, financially and through participation in events.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/18/2014 | 6:49:58 PM
Re: Gender Bias
@Alison: you've nailed it: "...they have a high-level exec whose sole responsibility is to improve hiring and retention of a diverse workforce, and that includes making sure diverse employees have the resources and support they need once they enter the workforce at this business."

That's exactly what is needed, it's not enough for a company to hire folks so they can say they're diverse, they have to provide for an environment that truly operates openly and supports a diverse workforce.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/13/2014 | 9:55:34 AM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
In covering this topic for years across multiple publications, I'd say there's a lot of truth to the idea more white men apply for technology jobs than other people. It's one reason so many tech and non-tech businesses are getting involved with improving STEM's image for young girls, teens, and college students. It's a reason i believe it's so important to encourage more women engineering teachers, female or diverse physics professors, etc. I just read a USA Today article on Girls Who Code; it included a young Hispanic girl's quote, where she said she could never have envisioned herself working at a Facebook or Google until she met a Hispanic woman who is a tech professional at a startup. Girls need role models in this field; thankfully, lots of men and women across all backgrounds and ethnicities are realizing this and investing money and time to make this less rare.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/13/2014 | 9:59:28 AM
Re: Gender Bias
Some businesses have found the best way to increase the diversity of applicants is to broaden the way in which they reach out to prospective employees, working with groups that support women in tech, minorities in tech, etc., to get their openings out to a much wider base. That doesn't always work, of course, and time sometimes is of the essence. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/13/2014 | 10:01:41 AM
Take the Diversity Test
You can examine your own diversity awareness and any bias, courtesy of a free series of online tests developed by Project Implicit, a non-profit developed by three university scientists to "foster dissemination and application of implicit social cognition." The president of the Society for Women Engineers passed along this test to me in 2013, and many find it very eye-opening.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/13/2014 | 1:57:17 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Isn't that the truth, @Jeff! In my area - Central Florida - there's a very active, thriving technology integrator, Craig Technologies, that is woman-owned and headed; she is definitely and obviously the driving force behind the company she founded after years at NASA (I believe; definitely in engineering). Yet sometimes companies pay lip service to the diversity concept, naming a figurehead to get the diversity classification (be it woman, veteran, or another capacity). I respect what government and other groups are trying to do here and think it's necessary, unfortunately, but you'd think there was a better way to measure compliance than against an org chart... 

I am glad to see Facebook, Google, et al, break down their diversity numbers both as overall employees and within their technology groups (where employees make more money and have more opportunity). To me, that shows they are at least seriously considering the implications -- less competitive products, less access to the best and brightest employees, etc. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/13/2014 | 3:11:16 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Yes, Apple did -- and it had pretty much the same breakdown as Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. However, Tim Cook did say improving Apple's diversity is a priority for him.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
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8/13/2014 | 4:44:29 PM
Re: Few female tech grads
I volunteer with a group of young women at an engineering-focused college here in MA and let me assure you they are not only real but also incredibly smart.

 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/14/2014 | 9:19:53 AM
Re: Few female tech grads
It's a shame there were no women in your class, but that is (thankfully) not always the case, as Laurie said. Thanks to the efforts of K-12 and higher-ed schools, IT professionals, organizations, and volunteers, more women (younger and older) see technology as a viable, fulfilling, and attractive career path. Granted, it's nowhere near a 50/50 split (or close), but it's tough to turn a ship around overnight. 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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8/15/2014 | 1:32:24 AM
Re: Few female tech grads
Alison, 

"Thanks to the efforts of K-12 and higher-ed schools, IT professionals, organizations, and volunteers, more women (younger and older) see technology as a viable, fulfilling, and attractive career path."

Most likely future generations will see more women in technology. The first problem for not having more women in technology comes from those parents who said things like "what are doing playing with your brother's toys? Are you a boy?" to their daughters.

Girls, until not long ago, were given only "girls' toys". In the same way parents didn't seem to approve boys playing with dolls, which in some generations has created a false idea that children were a "women's thing" only. 

-Susan 

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/18/2014 | 7:23:46 PM
Re: Few female tech grads
@SusanF: Unfortunately I see some educated parents raising daughters and sons today who are still instilling those biases at a very very early age. Though I agree this is becoming less and less common, it does point out that the issue starts long before the first job interview.

I'm grateful that I had parents who let me play with whatever toys I preferred. I had quite a collection of Hot Rod racing cars that was the envy of my male cousins, though i also liked playing with my Easy Bake toy oven. I had no interest in doll babies, despite numerous well-intentioned relatives giving them to me as birthday gifts.

:)
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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8/19/2014 | 1:23:02 AM
Re: Few female tech grads
SusanN, 

Yes, the issue certainly starts long before the first job interview. The way parents raise children is mostly what will determine the kind of men/women they will become at the workplace when having to interact with the opposite sex.

So, those men who don't accept women in tech positions most likely were boys who were taught by their parents that girls can't play with toy cars. The issue goes deep into how society has been conveniently molding gender roles. That, I believe, is what needs to be changed first. The question is, how do you do it? :/  

How funny. I had no interest in doll babies either. I was more interested in reading about and observing butterflies, the secret life of insects, conducting little science experiments (not with the butterflies), and investigating how things work. I liked spending time thinking. And people thought I was weird. :D 

-Susan 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/26/2014 | 5:58:24 PM
Re: Few female tech grads
@Susan: You nailed it: The issue goes deep into how society has been conveniently molding gender roles. That, I believe, is what needs to be changed first. The question is, how do you fix it?

I wish I had the answer to that question. So much of parenting is about personal choices, and I see some friends who raise their children in very gender neutral environments and others who are all about the girl and boy distinctions in clothing, toys, nursery decor, etc. pretty much from the moment the baby arrives.

I'm not a parent (except to two dogs and two cats). I'd love to hear more from the parents in our community here about their thoughts on the topic.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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8/27/2014 | 2:48:32 AM
Re: Few female tech grads
SusanN, 

"So much of parenting is about personal choices, ... "

Choices and responsibility. Parents need to guide the new beings, but how do they guide them when it's some of them the ones who need guidance in life? Where is parenting school?

If you want to become an engineer you go to university and study engineering and other things. Where do you go and what do you study when you want to become a parent? Learning on the go doesn't seem to work well in most cases. The evidence is all around us in society.

" ... and I see some friends who raise their children in very gender neutral environments and others who are all about the girl and boy distinctions in clothing, toys, nursery decor, etc. pretty much from the moment the baby arrives." 

Raising children in gender neutral environments will result in grown ups with a strong sense of equity, who will not have preference over gender in the work environment neither to assign a postion nor to offer a salary.  

On the other hand, raising children making the old boy-girl distinction will result in what we mostly see in the enterprise and society as a whole today. 

Those who have children, what kind of tomorrow's work force are they raising today?

You hear a lot of people complaining about this. Who does something about it, starting from home? 

Not being a parent doesn't prevent me from having a very strong opinion about parenting. :) What's more, I have thought of writing a book on the topic. 

-SusanF 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/28/2014 | 6:36:10 PM
Re: Few female tech grads
@SusanF: Getting a license to drive an automobile requires more training than becoming a parent does. I've often wondered why basic parenting skills aren't taught in High School. But then I look at news stories about the enormous arguments taking place in the U.S. over whether or not schools should be allowed to teach children about Darwin's Theory of Evolution and I despair. How could we possibly agree on how to teach children about parenting if we can't even agree  how to teach basic science and bilology. Ah, but I suppose this is a discussion for another forum...
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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9/1/2014 | 7:03:39 AM
Re: Few female tech grads
SusanN, 

"Getting a license to drive an automobile requires more training than becoming a parent does."

For anything that requires some responsibility there is a learning process and a test. Why not for parenting is a mystery to me. I would also add a phychological test. 

"I've often wondered why basic parenting skills aren't taught in High School." 

That would be a good start. 

But then I look at news stories about the enormous arguments taking place in the U.S. over whether or not schools should be allowed to teach children about Darwin's Theory of Evolution and I despair."

I haven't heard about that kind of old argument in a long time. But, honestly, if there is still that kind of thinking going on there is nothing we can do about it with our brilliant Susan thinking. :D

-SusanF 

 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/14/2014 | 9:21:50 AM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Here is the USA Today story where Cook discussed Apple's (lack of) diversity and his disappointment/plans to improve. Good luck!
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/14/2014 | 9:38:56 AM
Re: Gender Bias
Sure thing, @SaneIT. There are several well-known organizations that advocate (and help train HR/CIOs/CEOs, I believe) for a diverse tech workforce. They include: The Anita Borg Institute; the Society for Women Engineers; the American Society for Civil Engineering; Association of Women Engineers; National Society of Black Engineers; Urban Technology Network, and the Minority Professional Network (a mix of tech and non-tech groups/resources).

Here's a link to a page that has several organizations for minorities and women. They are not all necessarily focused on IT, but some groups probably have an IT career expert, conference, or other resources available. 

In researching a long, multi-part feature for Internet Evolution, I heard some tips from IT and HR pros in tech (email me at [email protected]) and i will send you a PDF of the story, if you'd like. During that research, I found many statistics that demonstrate the importance of a diverse staff: Of course, customers increasingly are diverse, so that's one obvious reason, but at least one study suggested even stock prices improve for more inclusive organizations!

Many are really simple and straight-forward: For example, HR recommends figuring out whether a new female or minority employee prefers large groups vs. one-on-ones and then make sure the IT staff welcomes her/him by taking them out to lunch, either as a group or in small or one/one parties during the first few weeks. This helps make the new hire feel part of the team. It's important, the HR exec said, for the CIO or IT manager to plan this so the newbie isn't stuck eating lunch alone during those first few days and weeks, giving her/him the opportunity to learn more about colleagues, company, etc.

Many larger tech firms (like IBM and EMC) have internal groups for their female and/or minority employees; these groups have meetings and support diverse hires by helping them network, resolve any real or conceived issues, etc. Larger firms also participate in some of the groups I provided in the first graf, either by paying for employees to attend events, encouraging them to speak on a panel at these meetings, or sponsoring part of the conference. There are usually local Meet-Up groups for diverse employees; by sponsoring, catering, or using company facilities for a meeting, even the smallest business sends a welcoming message to the tech community. 
Alison_Diana
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8/14/2014 | 9:41:20 AM
Re: Few female tech grads
@Technocrati - I believe the percentage of women in tech has grown, but not nearly fast enough considering the many opportunities across all industries within technology. Savvy organizations realize they MUST hire women and minorities, otherwise they'll simply run out of the best-qualified employees! But it's more than that. Several studies demonstrate the benefits an inclusive workforce bring and those organizations that aren't welcoming could well find themselves in trouble eventually when their competitors attract the best and brightest, regardless of gender, ethnicity, color, religion, or other factor.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/14/2014 | 5:16:46 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department -Making Marketing Better—Why Diversity Enhances Your Business
Ha! Very good! Yes, diversity is a hot topic, made even hotter by tech companies' (lack of) diverse workforces. Plus there's the threat of organized response (Jesse Jackson, for one, has been pretty vocal about how little diversity there is at tech companies). 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/18/2014 | 3:33:15 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Hiring people in retail is a lot different from hiring them in technological or managerial positions (preferably tech management spots). Procter & Gamble has a long legacy of hiring women and minorities, according to reporting I did last year, and that's across the board of professions within the vast corporation. Creating a diverse retail presence is one thing -- but do developers really think they will meet the needs of women, people of color, and others outside their white male majority if these groups are underrepresented or completely unrepresented? The answer, I strongly believe, is no. It's not just a matter of being a 'good' company with the 'right' corporate culture. It's also a question of survival or, at least, thriving as US demographics shift. 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/18/2014 | 5:00:49 PM
Re: Gender Bias
@Zerox203: yes, bias and discrimination based on age, gender or race are all extremely hard to prove by the letter of the law which is why it is such a minefield for any employees who want to speak out. It really is time for companies in leadersihp positions to step up and say they're going to go beyond what's required by law to make sure bias -- whether conscious or unconscious -- isn't ruling their operations.

One way to do so would be to train all employees (including the top execs) on what unconscious bias looks like and how we can each work on ourselves to avoid it.

I was talking about these issues with a friend over the weekend and she pointed out that bias goes so much deeper--in her workplace there's bias based on what universiities the employees have graduated from. If you didn't graduate from one of the two dominant universities at that company, your chances of getting a promotion are severely limited.

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/18/2014 | 5:12:17 PM
Re: Gender Bias
@Zaious: Do you feel the numbers show a greater bias than you expected, or less bias than you expected?

Personally, I was expecting more respondents to our flash poll to have said they've witnessed gender bias, but I guess it's a hard thing to witness because it can be so subtle.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/18/2014 | 6:41:11 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@JeffJerome: the lack of qualified women has often been cited by tech companies looking to justify their hiring practices. I'm not sure how we could prove that unless they were willing to reveal the gender breakdown of all their job applicants.

Assuming it's true, then it brings us to another issue, which is why there are fewer young women and girls than there are young men and boys choosing to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and whether those ratios will change over time.

no easy answers, you're on the right track in your observations, though.

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/18/2014 | 7:06:18 PM
Re: Few female tech grads
@Rman23a: As Alison has posted previously, many groups exist that recruiters can turn to in order to find qualified women. There's some validity to the concern that there aren't enough female candidates for certain tech jobs, and I expect that we will see that changing.

What I find just as troubling among tech companies in particular is how few women are employed even in non-tech jobs. 72% of Apple's leadership is made up of white men, for example.

According to an article in Business Insider: "In companies like Google, Twitter, Yahoo, Facebook and LinkedIn, women account for about half of the non-tech jobs, and about one-third of the total workforce."

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/18/2014 | 7:26:37 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Technocrati: Yes, we have to pay attention not only to quantity but quality jobs for women in tech companies...Hiring more women for low-level positions would be like putting up new curtains on a broken window.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/18/2014 | 7:30:36 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Jeff: I wholeheartedly agree with you in theory. However, in reality, for women trying to make their way in a male dominated field, being able to "work well and play well with others" sometimes takes on unpleasant meaning. I've heard countless stories from women who were the only females on their teams being subjected to all manner of offensive behavior from their male colleagues, rarely was it enough to file a harassment suit over -- or they chose not to for fear of permanent retribution in their careers -- but was enough to cause them to find a new job.

In an ideal world we would be rated on merit and I do hope someday what you're proposing becomes reality, and that we can be truly blind to gender, race, physical appearance, and all manner of other ways in which bias crops up in the workplace.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/19/2014 | 9:05:37 AM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
Eliminating the outsider is one thing some companies proactively try to do. As I mentioned in an earlier post, IBM for one makes sure managers interact closely with new hires to ensure they spend time with their peers, either as a group or on a one-on-one basis. They also have formal, company-sponsored groups to support women and minorities, both through networking and processes for complaints, etc. Granted, it's easier if you have thousands of employees but smaller companies too can eliminate crass, thoughtless talk and make a special effort to ensure minority and women feel comfortable in the workplace.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/26/2014 | 6:30:48 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Alison: Kudos to IBM. In my experience, the workplace programs that were designed for women were open ONLY to women, which I thought rather odd, especially considering that all the mentors I have had so far in my career have happened to be men. Unfortunately, I have yet to experience a workplace that is so diverse that there's even a need for a program for so-called minorities (I hate that particular term, but that's a topic for another day!).
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/18/2014 | 9:11:32 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Jeff: so now the question is how do we eliminate it?

I'd say we start by cloning you!

:)

Thanks for your enlightened perspective, I'm confident that there are other men in tech out there who "get it" and having more and more of these folks add their voices to the discussion is extremely important.

All of us have it within us to advocate for change and speak up when we see things that are unjust.

 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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8/21/2014 | 10:52:35 AM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
First, I absolutely agree with you that acting as if all minorities are from the inner city or all women are feeble is insulting and wrong. That said, have you ever worked or socialized or been part of a team (a sports team, for example), that does nothing to accept or welcome you -- or even proactively works against you, for whatever reason? This is the type of 'comfort in the workplace' I was alluding to: Just as when women first joined police and fire departments, there were issues around Penthouse posters on lockers and R-rated, sexualized calendars on walls, the majority can sometimes shun or make a workplace uncomfortable to the 'different' person, even if it's not meant particularly coldly. So by ensuring new hires are welcomed (and this should be across the board, anyway) and not neglected by current employees, businesses make the workplace more comfortable because the 'diverse hire' is included.

Groups may or may not be necessary. I think, in the case of these multinational firms they have groups for everything and anything so having one for various members of the workplace population, such as women, makes sense. People can choose to join or not, so participation is not mandatory.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/26/2014 | 6:41:17 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Alison: "have you ever worked or socialized or been part of a team (a sports team, for example), that does nothing to accept or welcome you -- or even proactively works against you, for whatever reason?"

the short answer: Yes.

The long answer: This is often the stuff lawsuits are made of, but sometimes it's so hard to prove. the examples you site of the early days of women in police and fire depts. are so blatant that they were able to file suit. However, in many organizations, this form of shunning and undermining can be dismissed as "office politics" even if it is truly rooted in a form of bias. I agree everyone deserves the kind of comfortable working environment that you described. Hard to believe in this century it's still something that people have to fight for.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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8/27/2014 | 3:04:23 AM
Let's examine the IT group's parents
SusanN, 

The title of your article could even be changed to Gender Bias: Are Your IT Group's Parents Guilty? Examining the root of the problem. :D

Yay! It sounds like a good title for a book, doesn't it? :)  

-SusanF
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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8/26/2014 | 4:55:58 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Jeff: Geography likely plays a huge role in this issue, both within and oustide the US. I'm in the Bay Area too and generally find men here to be far more enlightened than in many other places I've been.

On the flipside, many of the tech companies reporting the worst gender discrpencies are based here (although the numbers reflect their worldwide workforces), so I'm not really sure what to make of that.

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 6:06:35 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Jeff: "Maybe it is the ability to multi-task which my wife would tell you only women can truly do and men simply can't do it.  I think she said that to me at a time when I was doing something else so I can be certain."

I have seen no scientific proof that your wife is correct, but the results of experiments conducted in my own home would be right in line with her astute observations. :)

In all seriousness, I have known many women to gravitate to jobs in male dominated fields that can be described as project manaagement or traffic management -- wheter in tech or in other industries. Does that reflect an innate ability to multitask? Are women just extra good at herding cats?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 6:26:49 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Technocrati: I don't think you veered off course at all in the sense that all forms of bias are insidious and ultimatelly detrimental to the workplace and IMHO will limit the success of any company or organization. I wish I had a simple answer to this conundrum, I honestly think the only thing that will improve it is time, as our world becomes less and less homongenous we will start to see true color- and gender-blindess in the work place. Which generation will lead the way? Probably the one that follows the millennials...
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 6:37:47 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Technocrati: your comments about the inner-city and other absurd assumptions made about minorities led me to think about another important and even more difficult to define form of workplace bias: Socioeconomic class.

I'm a mailman's daughter who grew up in a multicultural poor to working-poor neighborhood in Queens, NY, and I have been on job interviews where the person doing the hiring was clearly biased toward the fact that I had not attended an ivy league school, was not wearing status label clothing, etc. In one such interview, the hiring manager made pointed comments about his penthouse apartment, his home in the Hamptons, etc., and asked about what neighborhood of Manhattan I was living in (Upper West Side), was I renting or did I own, etc. He seemed more interested in talking about these things, and didn't ask me any questions about my actual qualifications. It was intensely awkward and I wasn't at all surprised when I didn't get the job.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/28/2014 | 6:39:00 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Jeff: Fantastic infographic, thanks for sharing. certainly not the states I would have expected: 61% of Wyoming businesses using Square are owned by women -- the highest ratio of any U.S. state, followed by Montana (60%), North Dakota (59%), Iowa (57%), Nebraska (57%), Idaho (56%), Alaska (56%), South Dakota (56%), Maine (56%), and Kansas (55%).

I wonder how  many of them are tech-oriented women-owned businesses...I'll see if I can get a call into the folks at Square and find out how deeply they've sliced the data.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/28/2014 | 7:16:23 PM
Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
@Jeff: It is quite a beautiful place (at least the portion of it I saw during a cross-country move). It may also simply be less saturated with large corporations, leaving room for small- and medium-sized businesses to thrive. 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
9/1/2014 | 7:35:03 AM
Re: Let's examine the IT group's parents
Ashish, 

Yay! That's true. :D 

I remember my mother had a book on this topic. 

Well, I am not against two and three-year-old kids playing with iPads if they are taught how to play with it by the parents, who are the ones responsible for anything the kids do online while using the iPad, including downloading and installing games.

It's definitely not the kids' fault but their parents. Blaming and punishing those kids is simply wrong. Kids learn easily if they are taught right. 

-Susan

 
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