Women are poorly represented in high-tech industries

KHUSHBU KAPADIA
Editor in chief

America’s competiveness in a global economy depends excessively on the abil­ity to innovate. With technology becoming increasingly significant, more people lean toward job placements in high tech, or tech­nology that is cutting edge. However, today the economy, not only in America, but also in other countries, is shutting out many valu­able employees who could contribute new ideas to the company.

These employees mainly occupy the category of women. Although some women are placed in high-tech job companies, many women are represented poorly in high-tech industries and companies at the executive level.

One such example is of Silicon Valley. Although you would think that a place such as Silicon Valley, in the southern region of the San Francisco Bay area, would have rare occurrences of outright sexism in the tech world, for women the narrative unfolds quite differently.

According to the Silicon Valley Watch­er, “Silicon Valley is running hard to main­tain its position as the global innovation engine, against competition with dozens of fast growing innovation centers around the world.”

Which is why it’s perplexing that Sili­con Valley has such a large gender gap in key roles such as, entrepreneurs, engineers and other executive roles. This raises the issue of gender inequality.

However, this gender inequality and sexism does not simply exist in Silicon Val­ley, but also across the U.S. According the United States Department of Labor, one out of ten employed engineers was a woman, while two of ten employed engineering tech­nologists and technicians were women.

Why is it that this unfairness for women in high-tech industries exists in such an in­dustrialized and modern time? Perhaps the thought process behind such companies in Silicon Valley and other places has to do with the fact that most women are to become mothers and wives sometime in their life. Women are often hampered with traditional, feminine roles.

Furthermore, not only motherhood and family responsibilities factor in, but also the fact that research portrays that gender exerts a powerful influence on where the money goes in Silicon Valley. For example, a re­search conducted by Kauffman Foundation concludes that venture capital firms with senior female investors are more likely to attract and close deals with women-led com­panies and start-ups.

“Seventy percent of women venture capitalists were in partnerships that had closed deals with women-led companies,” according to a Kauffman Foundation study.

This may conclude that men might be reluctant to invest in women-led companies. Often times, women seem to trust women and men seem to trust men.

Therefore, the thought that women have other responsibilities separate from work and that people are more trusting working with people of their own sex, may be some of the reasons as to why women are poorly represented in high-tech industries at the ex­ecutive level.

However, is that a reasonable excuse for women to be underrepresented in high-tech companies at top positions?

Hillary Schnatter, a student at County College of Morris, sides with the thought that women and men should be treated equally in the workforce. “I think that men who work in high-tech industries feel su­perior to begin with. Once men see that women can be a potential threat or com­petition, they become little and undermine the success that women bring in order to maintain dominance and superiority,” said Hillary.

In addition, if companies continue to exclude women from high-tech jobs at the executive level, then America’s ability to create and innovate will suffer, including the economy.

The resolution for this issue of women suffering in high-tech jobs rests with the ac­tions of women in our society. The ability to speak out and take action can provide great solutions and paths to the future of working women.

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