One of the articles that have been watched a lot in the past months is a list we made about 30 People A Young Entrepreneur Must Follow. We thought it was a good list, even though there are plenty of people left out. The value you can get from 140 characters is remarkable and there are dozens of people who are willing to share their experiences. We have recently received a critique about the fact that there are just two women in the list. The question that we have faced is how do we get more women involved in tech?
This is a problem that many of us have been trying to solve in the past years with events, female-only hackathons, conferences and even inspiring talks from women who have done remarkable things both in tech and in business. We wonder if by raising awareness in this way, we really solve the problem. The figure of the man has always been seen in business and technology, but this old myopic mentality has partially changed, so why don’t we see a complete change in the number of women involved in tech?
Shifts like this take time and a lot of involvement from the people who are supporting this cause. Think about a girl who wants to enroll in a Computer Science course, but she has to face a class of 200 males. Isn’t it discouraging? It is, but something like this takes years to change and it is also related to biology. There is a reason why art courses or languages ones are packed with women and engineering departments with men.
Do we have to care about this? Can’t we just live and let it be as it is? Yes, we could and probably this might be the way it is, but what we have to stop is the way women are treated in business and tech positions. We can’t afford to have a society that chooses a man, because it thinks he’s more productive and doesn’t have to care about pregnancy. We need to have a society with equal rights and possibilities for both women and men.
Then, when we will finally reach that stage, it would be up to women and men to choose what they want to do. However at the moment that stage is pretty far. The majority of CEOs are still men and the involvement of women in strategic positions within companies is low. Nevertheless, there are some pretty good signs of change, starting from the Yahoo’s board of directors that hired Marissa Mayer, while she was pregnant, or Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg who achieved terrific results in the way the company operates today.
At the moment there are several no profit organizations that are working and promoting the involvement of women in tech and business. Lean in, the movement founded by Sheryl Sandberg that started from a book “ is focused on encouraging women to pursue their ambitions, and changing the conversation from what we can’t do to what we can do.” In the same way, Girls Who Code is another organization whose aim is to increase the number of women who are able to code.
These programs are helpful, but what really needs to be changed is a mentality that still some people have. It’s about culture and the way our families have raised us; it’s not about getting more and more girls in front of a laptop or as founders of startups. We think this magazine needs to be part of this battle, because we believe in rights. We believe that when we will defeat that mentality and the opportunities will be the same, the fight will be over, no matter the number of women involved in tech or business.
If we win over that mentality, everyone will have same and equal opportunities, which is what a civilised world should have.