Leading Change: Women in Tech

In today’s modern society, we can observe the fastest rate of growth in many areas: population, production, and especially technology. Technology is seen as the future of civilization, linking sectors and creating change. In the last two decades, cell phones went from a niche, textbook-sized item to an everyday product that easily in our back pocket.

Technology is at the forefront of every development in design and industry, yet a concern of the ever-necessary technological field that is less obvious is the continuing issue of gender diversity. Or lack thereof. There are endless possibilities to how one can lead in our current society, but the most effective way a woman might lead change is by tapping into the growth and expansion of technology.

Some of the most inspirational leaders of today are from the technology field, and that’s because technology plays such a prominent role in modern life. Technology has the power to change the way we live our lives in so many ways that we now see it as the norm. For example, how many of us live without a refrigerator? Clearly, some inventions are so integrated into our daily routines that we can barely imagine life without them. Although the refrigerator may not seem like an influential technological invention, our living habits would be far different without one. And society is perpetually hungry for more, displaying a constant need for more creation and innovation of technology. 

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Perception of Male vs. Female entrepreneurs. Courtesy of Harvard Business Review.

 

Icons, like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, connected the whole world through technology. Both started passion projects, which they took to an unprecedented scale and size. However, you don’t have to be the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg to be an effective leader of change. Originally joining IBM as a systems engineer, Ginny Rometty is CEO of IBM and the first woman to head the company. In the 36 years that Rometty has been with IBM, she’s sealed partnerships with nearly every big name in business and has also been at the helm of readying Watson, IBM’s A.I. platform, and Jeopardy! playing computer, for commercial use. Though she may not be interacting directly with technology anymore, she’s leading change in different ways. People like Rometty show that you don’t have to be an entrepreneur to be a change leader in technology.

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Ginny Rometty, CEO of IBM. Courtesy of The New York Times.

However, Rometty represents a very small percentage of the technological field. The tech world remains a largely male-dominated terrain. First Round, a venture capital firm, released its annual report last year on the state of startups in America. It interviewed more than 700 founders, 83% of whom were male, and found that diversity is still a great problem within the technology sector. So huge, in fact, that 61% of companies are either all male or mostly male and just 8% of companies are either all or mostly female.

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Karlie Kloss with her Kode With Klossy students. Courtesy of YouTube.

With 80% of all jobs in the next decade requiring technological skills, we need to try to break down the gender stereotypes that have traditionally kept girls out of these areas. By getting girls involved in STEM at a young age this will help them build the confidence to do and succeed at whatever they’re passionate about. Former Victoria’s Secret Angel and founder of Kode With Klossy, Karlie Kloss, saw the need to change the role of girls and women in tech. Her organization hosts girls’ coding summer camps and awards career scholarships to young women developers. Celebrities like Kloss, using their power and influence to promote causes that are driving change for female leadership.

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Courtesy of Norm Mag.

In our current society, aspiring female change leaders shouldn’t be intimidated from joining the male-dominated field of technology. After all, if technology is the future, shouldn’t women be a part of that future?

 

Author: Kristi Yang

Kristi Yang is a senior in her seventh year at SAS and is a third-year reporter for The Eye. She was born in New York but raised in New Jersey, Beijing, and Singapore—where she currently resides. Despite having lived in Asia for the past nine years, and in Singapore for the past seven, she still considers New Jersey to be home. You can find her running late to class (from Starbucks), leading painless workouts at House of Pain, or loitering around the media lab in the wee hours of the night (just ask campus security). She can be contacted at yang43603@sas.edu.sg.

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