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I belong here: 3 ways to attract more women to STEM

“It’s a girl, it’s a girl,” the audience murmured. As my daughter took the stage to receive an award at coding camp last summer, the other parents looked at each other in surprise, every other child in the camp was a boy. My daughter was the first girl to walk on stage that morning. Where was everyone else’s daughter? Why did this elementary-age tech camp already mimic the vast gender disparity of the Silicon Valley tech world?

As a mom who has spent her entire career in the technology field, this was a proud moment. But it is unfortunately a scenario that still happens all too often. Despite the rapid growth of technology in recent years, there is still a significant imbalance in gender representation when it comes to Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.

Related: Why we need more women in STEM

When Facebook and Google released their diversity numbers last year, it created a buzz of conversation on diversity in tech. Over half of the US population ages 15 to 64 is female, yet only 14 percent of computer science majors are female.  A report released last year by the American Association of University Woman reports that not only do women make up only 26 percent of computer scientists and 12 percent of engineers, but the numbers have worsened over the past 30 years. This is a huge disconnect, especially considering that published studies, such as by Harvard Business Review, show having a woman on a team raises the team’s performance and collective intelligence.

As a female tech executive, I have walked into countless rooms — including boardrooms — where I am the only female. The difference today versus 25 years ago is that today I know I belong here. Deals done, technologies commercialized — that’s only a part of it; I don’t question that I should have a seat at the decision-making table, which is as much about attitude as it is track record. As a society, we need to make changes to not only attract women to STEM, but also to create an atmosphere in these traditionally male-dominated fields where women intrinsically belong. So what can we do to address this?

 

Want to know the 3 things I recommend?  See the original article in Entrepreneur.

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This entry was posted on July 26, 2016 by in leadership, Technology, Who and What.

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