In 2003, building on the work done by WIT’s Girls in Technology (GIT) Committee, WIT founded a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization called Women in Technology Education Foundation (WITEF), which received its initial seed funding from the late John Sidgmore (UUNET/MCI WorldCom) and Mario Morino (Legent Corporation). Our intent is that ALL WIT members recognize WITEF as WIT’s charity of choice. To that end, periodically, we will provide our members with information that we believe will be of interest to them.
In 2008, women received 57% of all undergraduate degrees but represented only 18% of all Computer and Information Sciences undergraduate degrees. There has been a 79% decline, between 2000 and 2008, in the number of incoming undergraduate women interested in majoring in Computer Science. As a result, only 27% of computer scientists today are female. What can we, as WIT members, do about this trend?
“In this year's CompStudy survey we added a gender question to our Executive Backgrounds section in both the [Information Technology] IT and Life Sciences surveys. The resulting data include 2,202 C-level and VP-level executives from 459 private ventures . . . . Of these ventures, two-thirds are IT and one-third are Life Sciences ventures. The percentage of women across all of these ventures was 12.9%. However, this differed significantly between IT and Life Sciences: IT was 10.7% women, Life Sciences 17.6%. The percentages differed dramatically by position within the firm. First, the chart below shows the percentages for C-level executives. Compared to Life Sciences ventures, IT has a higher percentage of CFOs (17.7% vs. 10.5%), but lags in the other C-level positions: CEO (3.1% for IT vs. 7.9% for Life Sciences), President/COO 5.3% vs. 21.4%, and CTO 2.6% vs. 8.7%. (http://founderresearch.blogspot.com/2008/12/gender-gap-in-startups-part-1-women-in.html). Work with WIT and Women in Technology Education Foundation to improve these statistics.
Only 4.08% of venture funding in 2006 went to tech start-ups with female chief executives--that's down from 5.72% in 2001. (Forbes.com, Rachel Rosmarin, 05.17.07, http://www.forbes.com/2007/05/16/power-women-technology-tech-cx_rr_0517techwomen.html). Join WIT’s WBO or Executive Women SIGs and advance your company and your career.
According to a 2007 study prepared by Sheila Greco Associates, an Amsterdam, N.Y.-based consulting firm, the company's research indicates that the percent of female chief information officers--the top IT rank at most companies--increased to 9% in 2007, up from 7% in 2000 (Forbes.com, Rachel Rosmarin, 05.17.07, http://www.forbes.com/2007/05/16/power-women-technology-tech-cx_rr_0517techwomen.html).
"The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything," released in October 2009 by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress found that, for the first time in American history, women are half of all workers outside the home and mothers are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American families.
We all know the pay gap between what men and women earn still exists. But did you know that our region ranks among the best and the worst on this topic? In DC, women college graduates over age 25 earn 74% of what their male counterparts do ($67,800 vs. $91,100) ranking it toward the top as the 13th smallest pay gap. In the middle is Maryland at 71% ($60,700 vs. $86,000) ranking it 31st. And trailing both is Virginia, at 67% ($55,700 vs. $83,000) ranking it nearly last as the 48th largest pay gap. (http://www.aauw.org/research/statedata/index.cfm)
“If we want to achieve true diversity in America’s STEM workforce, we must first understand the root causes of underrepresentation and the ongoing challenges these groups face,” said Greg Babe, President and CEO, Bayer Corporation. “We want to knock down barriers. If we can do that, we’ll be able to develop the attitudes, behaviors, opportunities and resources that lead to success.” WITEF is working with WIT and other organizations in the DC metro area to help women achieve true representation in the technology workforce.
Forty percent of today’s women and minority chemists and chemical engineers say they were discouraged from pursuing a STEM career (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) at some point in their lives. U.S. colleges are cited as the leading place in the American education system where discouragement happens (60%) and college professors as the individuals most likely responsible for the discouragement (44%). The U.S. K-12 education system falls short, too. On average, the survey respondents give it a “D” for the job it does to encourage minorities to study STEM subjects and a “D+” for girls. (Bayer Facts of Science Education XIV survey, March 2010)
Women in the mathematics, and engineering have long been underrepresented in tenured and full professor positions but overrepresented in untenured and junior faculty positions, even after controlling for publication productivity and institutional affiliation. ((Sonnert, G. (1995)) These differences have not disappeared over time and today, women faculty in science and engineering are still promoted more slowly and receive fewer honors and leadership positions. (Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (2007)).
Women scientists are more likely than their male counterparts to be unmarried, not have children, or delay having children in order not to be negatively influenced by obligations associated with marriage and motherhood. (Grant, L., Kennelly, I., and Ward, K. (2000)).
More than three-quarters (77 percent) say significant numbers of women and underrepresented minorities are missing from the U.S. STEM workforce today because they were not identified, encouraged or nurtured to pursue STEM studies early on. (Bayer Facts of Science Education XIV survey, March 2010)
The top three causes/contributors to underrepresentation women and minorities in STEM include lack of quality science and math education programs in poorer school districts (75 percent), persistent stereotypes that say STEM isn’t for girls or minorities (66 percent), and financial issues related to the cost of education (53 percent). (Bayer Facts of Science Education XIV survey, March 2010)
Leading workplace barriers for the female and minority survey respondents include managerial bias (40 percent), company/organizational/ institutional bias (38 percent) and a lack of professional development (36 percent), no/little access to networking opportunities (35%), and a lack of promotional/advancement opportunities (35 percent). (Bayer Facts of Science Education XIV survey, March 2010) WIT is helping solve the problem of no/little access to networking opportunities.
In the Bayer Facts of Science Education XIV survey, women and minorities raised a number of barriers in their path to STEM careers, including: (1) Lack of mentors (50%); (2) Lack of role models (49%); (3) Stereotypes adversely affecting women and minorities (39%); (4) Lack of communication from STEM industry (39%); (5) Self doubt (35%); (6) Cost of education (31%); (7) "Sense of isolation" (29%); and (8) a lack of solid math and science education in poorer schools (24%). WIT is helping to solve the problem with 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7.
Women own 40 percent of the private businesses in the United States, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research. But they create only 8 percent of the venture-backed tech start-ups, according to Astia, a nonprofit group that advises female entrepreneurs. In the DC metro area there are only a handful of female entrepreneurs who have raised venture funding and all are or have been affiliated with Women in Technology. Let’s work together to increase that number.
Women account for just 6 percent of the chief executives of the top 100 tech companies, and 22 percent of the software engineers at tech companies over all, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology. And among venture capitalists, the population of financiers who control the purse strings for a majority of tech start-ups, just 14 percent are women, the National Venture Capital Association says.
Research indicates that investing in women as tech entrepreneurs is good for the bottom line. Venture-backed start-ups run by women use, on average, 40 percent less capital than start-ups run by men and are increasingly involved in successful initial public offerings of stock, according to a recent white paper by Cindy Padnos, a venture capitalist who compiled data from 100 studies on gender and tech entrepreneurship. “When you have gender diversity in an organization, you have better innovation, and I don’t know where innovation is more important than in the high-tech world,” says Ms. Padnos, who recently founded Illuminate Ventures, which invests in start-ups led by women.
Just 1 percent of girls taking the SAT in 2009 said they wanted to major in computer or information sciences, compared with 5 percent of boys, according to the College Board. One reason is that engineering has a serious image problem, many women in the field say. “There’s a really strong image of what a computer scientist is — male, skinny, no social life, eats junk food, plays video games, likes science fiction,” says Sapna Cheryan, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Washington who has researched why few women choose computer-science careers. “It makes it hard for people who don’t fit that image to think of it as an option for them.” WIT has nearly 1,000 members that reflect the depth and breadth of technology-related jobs available and invalidate this image. Spread the word.
When women take on the challenges of an engineering or computer science education in college, some studies suggest that they struggle against a distinct set of personal, psycho-social issues. In a study of 493 undergraduate engineering majors’ intentions to continue with their major, men tended to stick with their studies as long as they completed the coursework, while women did so only if they earned high grades. “Women’s intentions to persist in undergraduate engineering were dependent upon higher academic standards compared to men,” concluded the study, published in 2009 in the Journal of Science Education and Technology. Encourage your daughters, friends, and coworkers to persist.
According to the National Center for Women and Information Technology, 56 percent of women with technical jobs leave their work midway through their careers, double the turnover rate for men. Twenty percent of them leave the work force entirely, and an additional 31 percent take nontechnical jobs — suggesting that child-rearing isn’t necessarily the primary reason women move on. WIT members support each others’ careers providing a support structure that can reduce that turnover rate.
Research indicates that gender exerts a powerful influence on where the money goes in Silicon Valley. Venture capital firms with senior female investors are more likely to attract and close deals with women-led start-ups, concluded a Kauffman Foundation report. That may be because data show that people are more trusting and comfortable working with people of their own sex, says Toby Stuart, a Harvard Business School professor who studies the topic. Networks are crucial for fund-raising, because most investors don’t look at pitches that come over the transom. Since an overwhelming majority of venture capitalists are men and have gotten to the firms via start-ups or business schools — both places where women are underrepresented — women have a harder time gaining access to the Valley’s boys club, analysts say. (April 16, 2010, Out of the Loop in Silicon Valley, Claire Cain Miller)
For those with a bottom-line approach, analysts say it makes a difference when women are in the garages where tech start-ups are founded or the boardrooms where they are funded. Studies have found that teams with both women and men are more profitable and innovative. Mixed-gender teams have produced information technology patents that are cited 26 percent to 42 percent more often than the norm, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology. In a study analyzing the relationship between the composition of corporate boards and financial performance, Catalyst, a research organization on women and business, found a greater return on investment, equity and sales in I.T. companies that have directors who are women.
According to NCWIT, research shows that we can help drive interest in computing through the following activities:
o Provide early, positive experiences with computing activities
o Provide adult (especially parental) encouragement
o Serve as positive role models
o Provide information about what computing professionals actually do
Consider volunteering your time as a member of WIT's Girls in Technology (GIT) Committee. You can really make a difference in someone's life.
According to NCWIT, why is gender diversity important in computing?
o Enhances innovation
o Expands qualified employee pool
o Improves the bottom line
o Promotes equality
According to NCWIT, job security is good in IT. In 2009, when the overall unemployment rate in the U.S. was 9.7%, the unemployment rate for computing occupations was 5.4%, and for women in these fields, it was only 3.8%. Furthermore, the relative stability in information technology is expected to continue, which is good news for those who are considering the field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted job growth for computer and mathematical sciences occupations between 2000 to 2018 to lead all other occupations at 22%
According to NCWIT and Payscale, salaries are highly competitive in information technology. In 2009, among the top 10 salaries for undergraduate degrees, computer engineering ranked second with a starting salary of $61,700 and median salary of $105,000 and computer science ranked 7th with a starting salary of $56,400 and median salary of $97,400.
Survey: States Facing Shortage of Information Technology Workers
Lexington, Ken. -- States continue to experience a shrinking state IT workforce, according to a new survey by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO). The organization said the problems stem primarily from the retirement of aging state workforces, compounded by budget cuts leading to layoffs, furloughs, hiring freezes and stagnant salaries. "Retirements from an aging state IT workforce have been a looming issue for the majority of the states," said Doug Robinson, executive director of the NASCIO. "The recession has only delayed this inevitable tsunami of turnover." Nearly a quarter of state CIOs surveyed said they expect between 21-30% of state IT employees to be eligible for retirement within the next five years, while two-thirds said they anticipate having to reduce staff.
WITEF has launched a Twitter account and made its first posts at WITEFdc. We are also on Facebook at Women in Technology Education Foundation. Please friend us and help us spread the word so we can broaden our list of followers. We look forward to sharing information with you about our activities and help keep you informed about issues related to getting girls to consider technology-related careers and women to have successful technology-related careers.
Inoculation Against Stereotype Insider Higher Education
New research provides evidence that female instructors may be key to encouraging talented female STEM students to stay in those disciplines. The research, just published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (abstract available here), is based on a study at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst comparing the behavior of female and male students in introductory calculus course sections taught by male and female instructors. http://bit.ly/h9Id5s
Why the U.S. Must Promote Engineering Sophie Vandebroek, Business Week
America will suffer in global competition without reengineering its attitudes toward engineering, argues Xerox's technology chief. http://buswk.co/ijlca1
In the mid-1980s women earned 36% of the bachelor’s degrees in computer science; by 2006 that number had dropped to 20%. In a 2009 poll of young people ages 8-17 by the American Society for Quality, 24% of boys but only 5% of girls said they were interested in an engineering career. (‘Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics’ AAUW, 2010) The trend continues. What are you doing to encourage girls and young women to pursue STEM degrees and technology-related careers? Support GIT and the WIT Education Foundation.
In studies of high math achievers, women are more likely to secure degrees in humanities, life sciences, and social sciences than in math, computer science, engineering, or the physical sciences; the reverse is true for men. (Lubinski & Benbow, 2006). (‘Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics’ AAUW, 2010) Young women need positive role models. Volunteering with GIT and making donations to the WIT Education Foundation will help us help others.
Girls assess their mathematical ability lower than do boys with equivalent past mathematical achievement. At the same time, girls hold themselves to a higher standard in subjects like math, where boys are considered to excel. Because of this, girls are less likely to believe that they will succeed in a STEM field and, therefore, are less likely to express interest in a STEM career. Women leave STEM fields at a higher rate than do their male peers. Workplace environment, bias, and family responsibilities all play a role. (‘Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics’ AAUW, 2010) Again, positive role models can really help make a difference. Your support of GIT and membership in WIT help provide positive role models from the classroom to the boardroom.
Submitted July 4, 2011
This is sooo cool. Girl Scouts' Prosthetic Hand Device to Get Patent John Donvan, ABC NewsIf there was a way for trees to talk, then a big, old fir residing in Ames, Iowa, would tell a magnificent story about six Girl Scouts who meet in its branches and last year hatched a splendid idea. Today, the team of six who call themselves "The Flying Monkeys" were in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Patent Office to be recognized for their idea -- a prosthetic hand device that helped a 3-year-old to write. Read More: http://abcn.ws/kRlNd8.
Business Taking a Greater Interest In Education James Hagerty, Wall Street Journal
Big U.S. employers, worried about replacing retiring baby boomers, are wading deeper into education and growing bolder about telling educators how to run their business. Several initiatives have focused on manufacturing and engineering, fields where technical know-how and math and science skills are needed and where companies worry about recruiting new talent. Read More: http://on.wsj.com/jOdoSh. What are you doing to encourage the girls and young women in your lives to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math programs in school?
Pres. Obama Rolls out Engineer Training Program Hayley Peterson, Washington Examiner
On June 13, 2011, President Obama rolled out a proposal to train 10,000 new engineers annually through a privately funded program. "Today, with the leadership of the jobs council, we're announcing an all-hands-on-deck strategy to train 10,000 new American engineers every year," Obama said during a trip to North Carolina. Read More: http://bit.ly/k4nl5Q. Do you know some qualified young women who can participate? Share the information.
Women in Power: Susan Hockfield, MIT President, on Women in Science, Revolutionary Technologies, Why U.S. Policies Must Change Matthew Dakota, Huffington Post
MIT President Susan Hockfield discusses promoting STEM subjects to women, the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and related research efforts. Noting that MIT's student population was nearly half female, Hockfield said that the core of our efforts to make sure that places like MIT and the enterprises of science and engineering and mathematics are open and welcoming to women and men and to people of all backgrounds. Read More: http://huff.to/mO8zmP.
A rising share of computer science majors at top schools are women. High-tech jobs offer stability in an uncertain economy. Read More: http://bit.ly/lsfdKx. Is the tide starting to turn? Please do your part to support women majoring in computer science and other science, technology, engineering, and math degree programs.
For Incoming I.B.M. Chief, Self-Confidence is Rewarded Claire Cain Miller, New York Times
Early in her career, Virginia M. Rometty, I.B.M.'s next chief executive, was offered a big job, but she felt she did not have enough experience. So she told the recruiter she needed time to think about it. That night, her husband asked her, "Do you think a man would have ever answered that question that way?" "What it taught me was you have to be very confident, even though you're so self-critical inside about what it is you may or may not know," she said at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit this month. "And that, to me, leads to taking risks." http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/28/business/for-incoming-ibm-chief-self-confidence-rewarded.html?_r=2&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha25