- Women in the labor force accounted for 57.2 percent of the working age (16 years of age and older) women population in 2013, compared to 69.7 percent participation rate for men (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
- There were 127.1 million working age women,in the U.S. in 2013 – 72.7 million were in the labor force. Acoording to the Women's Bureau women’s to men’s earnings ratio is only 82.1%.
- A median annual salary of $37,791 for women working age women who worked in a full-time year-round in 2012. In comparison, to the median annual earnings of working age men which was a $49,398 (Women by the Numbers).
- Education and Health Services industry has the highest percent of women workers at 36.2%, while Information Literacy had the lowest percent at 1/7%. (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
- Men are employed in STEM occupations at about twice the rate of women with the same qualifications (U.S. Census Bureau)
With working in the tech field since 1989, I can say that it is true that there have been less females at the companies I have worked with or they are held to the lower position jobs. Strangely though at the technology conferences, I see lots of women and many of these women have advanced degrees. I have often heard males in the technology field say "be lucky you have a job" or "your voice is to high pitch to advance, try sounding more like a man" or "you cannot bet the Good Ole Boy network" and I was even told once "Do remember the saying 'behind every good man, is a women? That is where a women belongs, behind the men in the department". I have watched male peers be promoted, even though they were less education, less knowledgeable, and had less passion for success. It is frustrating, but something I had convinced myself that I had to accept to work in the technology field.
After reading about the stories from 716 women who left tech show that the industry’s culture is the primary culprit, not any issues related to science education, I started to re-think my decision of working in the technology field. I could relate to Sandhya, who was asked my her manager to come back early from leave. In fact, in the past five years I have only had one 4-day period where I was actually able to take vacation without having to work 50% or more of the time and that was when I traveled outside of the U.S.
"Of the 716 women surveyed, 465 are not working today. Two-hundred-fifty-one are employed in non-tech jobs, and 45 of those are running their own companies. A whopping 625 women say they have no plans to return to tech. Only 22—that’s 3%—say they would definitely like to" (Snyder)It is sad to see numbers of women that are leaving the tech jobs, specially since it appears that most of the women leaving enjoyed the work itself (Snyder). As Synder concluded, "Women are leaving tech because they’re unhappy with the work environment, not because they have lost interest in the work." This is expensive for organizations not just because of the cost of hiring and retraining, because of the lost of revenue via missing knowledge and the cost of time reassigning projects. Brown quotes Laura Sherbin, Director of research at the Center for Talent Innovations as saying “It’s not just about getting women in the pipeline. It’s about keeping them,”
The reasons women are leaving technology are not always lack of respect, promotion, or pay as most suggest. Sometimes the issues is one of the oldest reasons, since women entered the work force 'sexism'. I am not just talking about being hit on, but not being included in decision making meetings that directly involve the female or her position, or forced to listen to inappropriate sexual jokes. Another example of the sexual discrimination in the tech industry when men were reward for creating the app "Titstare" during a hack-a-thon at TechCrunch Disrupt (Miller). While TechCrunch later publicly apologize, why did they let it happen in the first place? "The parade of offenses continues: the social coding giant GitHub came under a firestorm of criticism earlier this year after one of the company's few female developers quit, alleging a pattern of sexual and gender-based harassment. And a website called "CodeBabes" launched, offering to teach bros how to code under the tutelage of virtual strippers. It seems there's no end to this type of news; in fact, there's a whole site devoted to tracking these flareups" (Liebelson).
Model View Culture published a open letter about how women are treated in tech companies and provided suggestions on how to improve. Click here to read the full letter. According to the Business Insider, women employees at Adobe Systems (ADBE), BuzzFeed, Kickstarter, Stripe and Mozilla, as well as software engineers and designers and technology journalists "are angry and that things have to change" (Peterson). Sue Gardner has been doing research on the matter and found that tech women report "23% to 66% report experiencing sexual harassment or seeing it happen to others. Half the respondents to my survey said they've been treated in a way they find hostile, demeaning or condescending, and a third said their bosses are friendlier and more supportive with their male colleagues. Women report being encouraged to move out of pure tech into support functions, which offer less pay, are less prestigious and have limited upward mobility" (2014). Other facts found were:
Lauren Weinstein who is co-founder of PFIR - People For Internet Responsibility, co-founder and moderator of NNSquad - Network Neutrality Squad, the founder of the PRIVACY Forum, and now a Google consultant ask "Why aren’t there more women in computer science and engineering?’ and there’s all these complicated answers like, ‘School advisers don’t have them take math and physics,’ and it’s probably true, but I think there’s probably a simpler reason, which is these guys are just jerks, and women know it” (Miller). The parade of offenses continues: the social coding giant GitHub came under a firestorm of criticism earlier this year after one of the company's few female developers quit, alleging a pattern of sexual and gender-based harassment. And a website called "CodeBabes" launched, offering to teach bros how to code under the tutelage of virtual strippers. It seems there's no end to this type of news; in fact, there's a whole site devoted to tracking these flareups.As Brown points out in her article we starting to hear more about women being discriminated because of their gender, as in the case of Whitney Wolfe. Is the culture shifting, are more women speaking up, or something else?
- 41% of women in tech leave the industry, compared to the 17% of men leaving
- Women at their mid-career point is in the most dangerous time and when their career starts to stall with those who have reached the beginning ranks of management.
- Women who leave are 165% more likely have an advanced degree than those who stay
- Tech women are not leaving the work force, just the tech field.
It is not all bad, top schools like University of California, Berkeley Campus and Stanford University are seeing female enrollment in their computer science programs. There are a few women you have managed to break through like Danese Cooper at PayPal or as Forbe's points out "Among the 100 World’s Most Powerful Women, 18 on this year’s ranking have reached some of the highest positions in the world’s largest tech companies" (2014).
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Current Population Survey http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat03.htm,
- Women’s Bureau calculations from data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics- Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey http://bls.gov/cps/cpsaat37.htm (2013 annual averages)
- Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics- Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat14.htm (2013 annual averages)
- Women by the Numbers. http://www.infoplease.com/spot/womencensus1.html#ixzz3LVM3UwlU
- Why women leave tech: It's the culture, not because 'math is hard' by Kieran Snyder. http://fortune.com/2014/10/02/women-leave-tech-culture/
- US Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acs-24.pdf
- In a First, Women Outnumber Men in Berkeley Computer Science Course By Klint Finley. http://www.wired.com/2014/02/berkeley-women/
- Tech companies haven’t gotten past sexism 1.0 By Kristen V. Brown. http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Tech-companies-haven-t-gotten-past-sexism-1-0-5845691.php
- The Truth About Tinder and Women Is Even Worse Than You Think By Nick Summers. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-07-02/tinders-forgotten-woman-whitney-wolfe-sexism-and-startup-creation-myths
- Technology’s Man Problem by Claire Cain Miller. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/technology/technologys-man-problem.html?_r=0
- These Women Are Tired of Being Nice. Read Their Badass Letter About Sexism in Tech By Dana Liebelson. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/05/read-letter-women-tech-industry-sexism.
- Women are getting fed up with sexism in tech By Kim Peterson. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/women-are-getting-fed-up-with-sexism-in-tech/
- Op-Ed: Why women are leaving the tech industry in droves By Sue Gardner. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-gardner-women-in-tech-20141207-story.html
- The Most Powerful Women In Tech 2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/zheyanni/2014/05/28/the-most-powerful-women-in-tech-2014/