The Future Is Female & Minorities!

The tech world has always been a white man’s world. After watching The Internet: Behind the Web, we are able to see that the people who were instrumental in making the Internet were all privileged white men. Why does this matter? Because it laid the groundwork to what has become a stereotype of who belongs in the tech industry. The gender and minority gap within the tech industry is an alarmingly large difference. As you can see in the infographic of some of the top tech companies, the ratio of Caucasian employees to that of minorities is much greater. Although the Internet appeals to just about every person, it was originally aimed to meet the needs of privileged men. In Gender and Technology: Women’s Usage, Creation and Perspectives, Royal accurately describes the Internet as a place that provides “voice to the voiceless in a setting where one’s identity can remain anonymous and potentially fluid. But it can also perpetuate an extend sexist attitudes, stereotypes, and violence.” The way in which women and men use the Internet differ vastly, so it is imperative that future developers are able to tap into the needs of some of these underrepresented groups by diversifying their employees. Since the introduction of the Internet  we have seen the introduction of sites like Pinterest, which is aimed more to the women demographic, yet when looking at some of the statistics provided by Fortune Pinterest men still dominate the amount of staff by 20%.

I believe in order to change this “man’s world” mentality, there must be a huge shift in how higher education and the public school system market going into the technology field to women and other minority groups. Like Professor Royal said in Tech-savvy women seek support in classroom and newsroom, there are many disciplines, such as mass communication, that are female dominated that could benefit from incorporating programs that teach students technology based skills while still pertaining to their area of study. I found it particularly interesting that women are more interested in computing for a reason, whereas men enjoy technology as a means unto itself. I personally can relate to that. I have never had an interest in computer science, but I am very interested in coding and learning programs like Indesign, Javascript, and Illustrator. I think that focusing on implementing technology into the subjects that women/minorities have already shown interest in will be the best way to diversify the technology industry.

The attitudes and stereotype of who fits the mold within the technology field must also change for their to be any real progress in creating a more diverse industry. For women, unlike men, it has never been “cool” or “trendy” to be the nerdy smart girl writing code. This unfair paradigm of what fields of study are more suited for men versus women still very much influences the world today. Unfortunately for those women who do pursue careers in the tech industry, many are faced with unfair treatment, lower pay, or over looked. In Susan Fowler’s recount on her time at Uber, she was met with constant ignored by HR and told to her mistreatment by her male supervisors was to be expected. This further validates that this gender and minority inequality not only happens online, but also in the physical space as well.

In this video of Sheryl Sandberg, she urges women to go into the technology industry. She, like Professor Royal, believe that the exposure to this field must be introduced early on in young people’s lives.