Pipeline is not the only issue
- Women in STEM careers are more likely to leave within the first few years than those who aren’t in STEM fields because of unsupportive work environments, lack of role models and significant personal sacrifices they’re required to make. About half continue to use their technical skills, but at a different company. The rest abandon their training.
- Once inside the organization, women still have to contend with pay gaps, “bro culture” and unconscious bias. Various studies of men and women in computing and engineering jobs report that women tend to feel isolated in the workplace.
- The majority of respondents cited “workplace culture” as the primary reason for premature attrition
- Unconscious bias pushes the numbers down: women usually get paid less, get crappier work, and are judged negatively for behavior and traits that are looked at positively for men
- There’s also conscious bias and culture, such as “brogrammer culture” that often leads to teasing/harassment of women
- Despite being amenable to flexible working conditions and schedules, tech has been relatively slow to innovate. Including: short maternity leaves and lack of paid leave, which compound pay issues.
Silicon Valley deep seeded belief and Google’s engineer 10 Page Viral manifesto & Google’s YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki on gender discrimination: It still hurts “…..my experience in the tech industry has shown me just how pervasive….”
“Time and again, I’ve faced the slights that come with that question. I’ve had my abilities and commitment to my job questioned. I’ve been left out of key industry events and social gatherings. I’ve had meetings with external leaders where they primarily addressed the more junior male colleagues. I’ve had my comments frequently interrupted and my ideas ignored until they were rephrased by men. No matter how often this all happened, it still hurt.
So when I saw the memo that circulated last week, I once again felt that pain, and empathized with the pain it must have caused others. I thought about the women at Google who are now facing a very public discussion about their abilities, sparked by one of their own co-workers. I thought about the women throughout the tech field who are already dealing with the implicit biases that haunt our industry, now confronting them explicitly. I thought about how the gender gap persists in tech despite declining in other STEM fields, how hard we’ve been working as an industry to reverse that trend, and how this was yet another discouraging signal to young women who aspire to study computer science. And as my child asked me the question I’d long sought to overcome in my own life, I thought about how tragic it was that this unfounded bias was now being exposed to a new generation.”
Programs for HR to to remove the toxic/bias behavior from the culture
- Education on Innovative pay, leave and flexible working program benefits
- MIDA Tech Platform: Content/Mentorship for women to embrace addition skills needed to succeed beyond just technical capability.
The following measurements will track progress and reveal roadblocks:
- Engagement and retention by gender
- Applicants and recruits at every level by gender