[READ] Women in Tech: Not Just Leveling the Playing Field, Changing the Game
Almost a year ago Megan Smith started a new chapter as the first female CTO of the White House. Her appointment brought to light the often overlooked story of women in technology. As she told Wired editor Jessi Hempel, in spite of the fact that women have always been coders, “They’ve just been written out of history.”
The industry as a whole will have you believe that Smith’s appointment means things are changing. In some ways they are. As successful woman-founded tech startups like Birchbox, Darby Smart, and LittleBits prove, women who pursue technology are successful. This past year, Food52 the food focused digital community founded by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs successfully raised capital for its vision – just one of many woman-founded businesses that raised significant backing from investors.
But as Susan Lyne, the current head of #BuiltByGirls and advocate for women in tech noted, today only seven percent of venture funding goes to women-led startups. These numbers underscore a reality which Tracy Chou, a Stamford computer scientist turned engineer at Pinterest, pointed out in her simple but disruptive post on Medium. “The actual numbers I’ve seen and experienced in industry are far lower than anybody is willing to admit,” she wrote. So she set out to quantify the issue by creating a spreadsheet that companies could use to make public the number of female engineers they employ. The data told a different story – one that’s now beginning to change through greater transparency.
“There’s a bigger goal to remove gender as the hidden (or sometimes not-so-hidden) discriminant in the tech industry.”