It is the week of Thanksgiving here in the US, a time for thinking about and giving thanks. As such, I’ve been pondering this week what I am thankful for. I have also been thinking about where we’ve come as women in the tech industry ever since the election. The election results spurred a new uprising of sharing the pain points experienced by women and what we can do to get more women into tech.
While the numbers are discouraging (fewer women are entering computer science than in previous years) there has been progress. More than ever, people are stepping up to the challenge of encouraging women into the field – many by other women, and that we can be thankful for.
Here are my 5 Reasons to Give Thanks as Women in Tech
Women in Tech are being awarded. Grace Hopper and Margaret Hamilton were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for computing advances. Margaret Hamilton led a team that created the onboard flight software for NASA’s Apollo command modules and lunar modules. Grace Hopper “was at the forefront of computers and programming development from the 1940s through the 1980s.” Her work “helped make coding languages more practical and accessible, and she created the first compiler, which translates source code from one language into another.” Source.
There is an increasing number of supporting communities. Women are supporting each other more than ever in online communities like Tech Ladies, Women in Tech campaigns, and even Melinda Gates is stepping up to encourage participation in the industry. Let’s take this momentum into the workplace, career fairs, and our neighborhoods to encourage girls and women into the tech industry as the possibilities that lie within it are endless.
Women are re-writing the rules of tech. We see outside the traditional computing careers to add technology to our lives in an enriching way. One of these ways is inventing wearable technology like Women of Wearables and startups focused on tech-enhanced clothing for women.
While there is a long way to go, women are breaking into leadership positions. 20 years ago there were no women serving as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies but as of 2015, 26 women (%5.2) are serving in those roles. Also, “women held nearly 17 percent of positions on company boards…up from nearly 10 percent in 1995.” Women are even more likely to continue education after earning a bachelor’s degree. Unfortunately, while education does help earnings for women, it isn’t an effective tool against the wage gap.
Women in tech can be thankful for the challenges set in front of us. We can use these challenges as opportunities to break the mold, flip the industry on its head, and work in ways that work for us. Being a minority in the tech industry gives us the opportunity to set the standard for women-led teams, business, and design. We can prove how we are inclusive, yet powerful and that this field is ripe for other women interested in tech to join!
What are you thankful for during this season of gratitude? What makes you thankful for as a woman in tech? Please share your thoughts in the comments!