It’s because the tech boyz are all jerks

Viewpoints: Why Aren’t More ‘Techies’ Women?
Sacramento Bee (CA) (11/29/09) P. 5E; Strange, Elena

Although technology jobs have become increasingly popular as a result of the recession, young women are still not choosing careers in technology, writes Silicon Valley computer scientist Elena Strange. A recent ACM study found that high school girls do not see computer science as an attractive field, and only 32 percent of college-bound girls see computer science as a “good” or “very good” college major.

 Additionally, only 9 percent of girls believe that computer science is a very good career choice, compared to 28 percent of boys. Strange says computer science professionals and organizations need to do more to encourage girls to pursue computer science, not only to strengthen the industry but because many girls would enjoy computer science if exposed to it in the right way.

Strange notes studies predicting that more than 1 million tech jobs will be added to the economy between 2004 and 2014, and she says technology workers are vital to the success of the U.S. economy.

Events such as Expanding Your Horizons, in which computer scientists and mathematicians encourage girls to study and pursue math and science careers, expose girls to the numerous opportunities available in computer science that they might otherwise have never experienced. Strange says that workshops can demonstrate the variety of work available in the field and get girls interested in the underlying science.

On achieving balance

Anticipating Needs of Users Is Fulfilling
Financial Times Digital Business (11/05/08) P. 5; Twentyman, Jessica

Accenture Technology Labs senior researcher Marion Mesnage says gender balance is critical to developing the ideas that Accenture will turn into new products. At one point in her career Mesnage was the only woman on her team, but now the team is far more diverse, and about half of the team is female.

“Similar people, working together, tend to come up with similar ideas,” Mesnage says. “You need a wide range of kinds of people working on a team to really stimulate true creativity and innovation.” She says it is equality important that women be involved in shaping the information society that future generations will inhabit.

“As technology increasingly shapes every aspect of our lives and our societies, it’s important that everyone has a hand in its creation and that everyone benefits from it,” she says.

Mesnage’s work at Accenture has focused on sensors to monitor the elderly and, when necessary, call emergency services, and on investigating how intelligent sensors can be embedded into devices to monitor their energy consumption and create data on energy costs and carbon emissions.

Mesnage is convinced that IT will play a significant role in developing energy and carbon management products. She says the most fulfilling part of her job is anticipating the next wave of technology and the needs of users.