The Fight for Women in Tech

The New York Times recently reported that only 30% of new post-recession jobs have gone to women. There are many theories as to why the recovery (using the term loosely) has been so disproportionate for one gender over another.

Historically, women’s employment habits in the U.S. gravitate to the service sectors and smaller companies. It is also pretty common knowledge that women are underrepresented in STEM-related industries, which have (obviously) grown both in number and in need in the past ten years. Specifically in IT, there has been a grassroots push for more women in technology. It hasn’t come without its setbacks.

There was much fanfare when Marissa Mayer took the reins of Yahoo! as their CEO. But since taking the helm, Mayer has done away with workplace practices such as telecommuting–a practice hard fought for in years past at companies like Yahoo! to accommodate working mothers. (The irony here? Mayer was pregnant when she became CEO.

The decision was lauded by some in the tech community, but its effects on employees remain to be seen. Will acts like Mayer’s turn prospective female employees away from an industry so shocking in its dearth of feminine voice and input? Some would say no. Entry into IT college programs among women have increased in recent years–very likely spurred by the lack of opportunity in other fields. 

As long as the movement to include more women in the “tech tent” is on a private, citizens-only scale, there is no harm here. An organic trend shift for women in tech fields is slowly happening. But would the Fed become aggressively involved with placing more women in tech jobs, say, as government contractors in various areas? Does the Obama Administration really care about women and their careers? 

Other than a fluffy, feel-good batch of quotes on the White House website, there is no government-funded campaign in sight. Women in combat positions? No prob. Affirmative Action? Done. Employing more women in a field that could restore the thousands of jobs we’ve lost? …Meh, it can wait.

It’s remarkable how ham-fisted and warped the government’s priorities can be.