Traditionally, men have made up the majority of the workforce in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) field. In fact, less than 12% of computer science and information technology degrees recipients were women in 2011, and women make up less than 20% of the total population of computer programmers in the United States. Even today, despite male and female teenagers having similar rates of Internet usage, girls are still five times less likely to pursue a career in the STEM field.
Here are five females who have left their mark on the information technology landscape, proving that just because they are the minority, doesn’t mean they can’t make a big difference.
Sandberg spent four years as Facebook’s COO before being named to the social network’s board of directors. She is a Harvard graduate who served as chief of staff for the U.S. Treasury Department, and even spent time in upper management at Google. She also co-authored the best-selling book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.
At just 25 years old, Mazumdar-Shaw founded Biocon in 1978. Since then, the biotech entrepreneur has guided the company to become India’s eleventh-largest pharmaceutical company.
Mayer broke into the IT world as the first female engineer at Google, where she worked on search technologies, books, maps, news, and more. She is now CEO of Yahoo and responsible for revitalizing the brand to once again be a powerful force online.
As the Senior Vice President of Advertising & Commerce at Google, Wojcicki was the mastermind behind Google AdWords, AdSense, Analytics, and DoubleClick, which account for more than 95% of Google’s annual revenue. She is currently Senior Vice President of YouTube.
Dai co-founded Marvel Technology Group in 1995 and now rakes in revenues of more than $3 billion annually. The company is one of the leading manufacturers of semiconductors and provides its product to companies like Samsung, Apple, and Toshiba.
The Importance of Gender Diversity in the Workplace
With more and more competition from across the globe, it's important for the United States to encourage underrepresented groups, like women and minorities, to play a larger role in the IT field. Adding female workers to the IT workforce stimulates innovation and avoids homogeneous group thinking that can occur when groups of very similar people work together.
Studies have shown that gender diversity in the workforce encourages increased creativity, innovation, and better decision-making. Having a diverse workforce also helps companies form connections with their clients, who often do not match the same all-male demographic as most IT companies.
Although women still make up a small percentage of the overall IT workforce, many companies have created incentive programs to help women overcome the gender gap and have successful careers in the STEM field.
- Computing Degree and Enrollment Trends
- Blazing The Trail For Female Programmers
- If Girls Don't Get IT, IT Won't Get Girls