When women lead in technology, they scale amazing things. But there are a lot of obstacles for women in tech. It’s not easy for them to find, let alone stay on, that path.
If you google the phrase “famous inventors” one of the first images you’ll get back is an image of “The Famous Inventors Jigsaw Puzzle.” This is a large format puzzle that pictures the faces of over 50 inventors. Each face is white and each face is male.
We’ve all seen the numbers about women in tech.
- Only 5 percent of startups are owned by women
- In 2016 only 2.4% of 59 billion VC dollars was invested in women-led companies
- The quit rate for women in high tech is double the quit rate of men
Quite a puzzle, indeed.
So WHY does this matter? It matters because technology scales really well. And when it’s in the hands of more women, it can scale amazing things.
When women lead in technology:
- We get inventions like Supa, a smart system that enables your athletic wear to monitor your health, invented by Sabine Seymour
- We get people like Elisa Miller-Out who sold her first tech company and turned around to start Chloe Capital, an angel fund for female founders
- And we get Danielle Applestone, the CEO of Bantam Tools who is using her position to help manufacturers hire and train women for new tech jobs
There is no doubt. When women lead in technology, they lift people up. When women lead, they make the world better.
This lack of women in tech is a systemic problem. What’s puzzling is that 75% of young girls express an interest in STEM. But when you look at the low numbers in industry, it’s clear that something breaks down along the way.
Growing up, I loved lego as a kid and I excelled at shop class and mechanical drawing in high school. But I didn’t see anyone who looked liked me doing this stuff. Every image I had of an engineer or inventor looked like the faces on the inventors puzzle.
Since I liked making stuff with my hands, I studied art in college. It took me ten years after I graduated to find industrial design and to finally discover who I was meant to be.
So what can we do to help girls and women find a technology path and stay on it?
- If you’re a teacher or a parent, encourage and support girls in STEM. Help them find role models.
- If you run a tech company, ask the women who you work with what they need to succeed and don’t shut down if their answers make you feel uncomfortable.
- If you are an investor, invest in women. They won’t let you down.
- If you are a woman yourself who likes tech but feels too afraid to get into it, do it anyway. Find people to support you either in your company or outside of it. Become the role model that young women need to see.
We get to decide who invents the future by who we choose to see and support and lift up. Let’s solve “The Famous Inventors Puzzle” together.
The stats in this post are pulled from http://observer.com/2017/06/women-in-tech-statistics/