Thursday, April 14, 2011

Where are the Women? Connecting Women and Technology

It has been almost a year since I began my career as an IT Recruiter at Stafflink. As my one year mark nears, I've started to reflect on my experience in the industry and all of the wonderful IT professionals I have met. However, I am still left with one recurring question… “Where are all the women?!”

It is hard to ignore the fact that a very small majority of IT professionals I have encountered are women. However, this discussion is not meant to focus simply on the lack of women in technology but rather focus on the importance of women in technology.
Did you know that… the average teenage girl sends approximately 3,330 text messages a month? How about that 77% of Groupon’s subscription base is female? And if you want to know who the average social gamer is; it’s not your thirteen year old brother… it is your 43 year old mother. (Christina Brodbeck, CEO of TheIceBreak,
Women are clearly engaged and excited about technology so why aren’t many of us pursuing careers in technology? Educators and industry leaders are asking the same question.

The photo on the left was taken at a forum hosted by The Peel District School Board to explore careers for women in Information Technology on International Women's Day. (Students Explore Career Paths, Brampton Guardian, March 8, 2011)

I believe that the only way to encourage women to pursue technical careers is to educate women on their power in the field and nurture their love for technology. Women need to see examples of other women’s success in the field so they have role models they can look up to. Here are just a few to get the conversation started:

Limor Fried, Founder of Adafruit

Limor is a “do-it-yourself” goddess that sells DIY kits that assist people with hardware hacking. One of her most popular products is a DIY kit that disables the cellphone signals of those around to help students who are studying and crave absolute silence.

Kelle Santiago, President and Co-Founder of thatgamecompany

Kelle heads a small team of 12 people that have proved they can stand among the corporate gaming giants. Her company, thatgamecompany, created the game Flower which was ranked in Sony’s top ten Playstation games for 2009 and 2010.

Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss, Co-Founders of Rent the Runway

These Harvard graduates embraced technology when they created their highly successful website that allows women across America to rent luxury dresses and accessories instead of purchase them. The site acts as a reservation site where women rent items for special occasions for a period of 10 days and then return the item once the event is over.

Recommended Reading

Women and Tech: Focus on Female Consumers and the Founders will Follow
Executive Forum on Gender Diversity – A Step toward Full Parity
ITAC Gender Diversity Forum Provides Primer on Building an Inclusive ICT Workplace
Students Explore Career Paths


About the Author

Michelle De Rubeis ,Technical Recruiter, StaffLink Solutions Ltd.

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