Over at the revamped ISGTW site, now known as ScienceNode, Senior VP and Chief Innovation Officer at Internet2 Florence Hudson writes about the unconscious biases that women in the tech sphere continue to face and the actions we can take to counter problematic expectations.
The Internet2’s Gender Diversity Initiative formed last year to improve gender diversity in the research and education IT and Internet2 communities. The group joings a growing list of organizations, like the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), that are ushering society toward full gender parity. With greater awareness and exposure, unconscious biases are being addressed, notes the lead in to the article.
There is certainly work to be done. As Hudson has pointed out “women comprise 57 percent of professional occupations in the US, [but] represent just 26 percent of the computing workforce and a mere 6 percent are top CEOs.”
Here’s a brief excerpt:
This summer, I attended a cybersecurity workshop and asked a question about the virtualization technologies a session presenter was using. With very tentative body language, he started to answer my question, but stopped short and said, “Well I’m trying not to get too technical.”
As an aerospace and mechanical engineer, I have worked at Grumman on solar power satellites and the space shuttle program; at NASA on future missions around Jupiter; at IBM for 33 years in roles including VP, CTO, and director; and now as senior VP and chief innovation officer at Internet2. However, I was gracious and said, “That’s OK, I can handle it.” Then I asked a more direct question regarding VMs or containers to set the tone, so he proceeded.
Many factors are at play with the lack of women in technology. Some of it starts when we are young, when women and girls are not expected to be technical. Actually, at any age, women are not expected to be technical, even by other technical leaders. The issue at play in this particular scenario was unconscious bias, an expectation based on a norm that this speaker had seen or experienced before.
The Internet2 Gender Diversity Initiative space hosts a collection of success stories, news items and other resources.