Why aren’t there more women in technology?

Here’s a complicated question: How come there so few women earning a living in technology fields? It is a question that NPR asked recently in its All Tech Considered blog. And it is a question that business owners should be asking, too. It’s no myth that women are not adequately represented in the tech business.

Bad numbers

NPR looked at a study from the National Center for Women and Information Technology stating that women represent a tiny 6 percent of the chief executives at the country’s top 100 tech companies. NPR also references a story in the New York Times stating that women have founded only 8 percent of venture-backed tech startups.

Not getting better?

The worse news? The NPR story states that these numbers are consistent in high school and elementary school. Girls just aren’t as involved with technology and science as are boys. As NPR says, you simply can’t argue that there’s a shortage of women in tech. What you could debate is why this is happening.

Merit-based?

Those who argue that there’s no bias against women in tech say that Silicon Valley has always been a meritocracy. The smartest and the most skilled engineers logically rise to the top. On the other hand, NPR pointed to a Reuters story that discovered significant evidence of race, gender and class bias in technology. Exactly what does this mean for small business owners? It might be time for these owners to look past the traditional IT employee — they have a tendency to be white males — and search for skilled engineers who don’t conform to what we typically expect tech specialists to look like.


Posted on: 03.26.14