I know we are all probably aware of the gender gap in the technology world, but the geek techie image itself may be the biggest hurdle to overcome in making the profession more attractive to the “opposite sex.” Let’s just take a look at the work setting. Instead of the routers, wires and computer parts that populate the tech support work space, imagine a more neutral (feminine?) decor – art and nature posters, coffee makers, plants and general-interest magazines.
Many may claim that these stereotypical images are in fact changing with a few women cracking th glass ceiling of male dominance in the tech executive ranks. But these changes are very few and still very hard fought, particularly in the CEO, CIO ranks. Let’s not forget Elaine Pao’s struggles at Reddit and at Kleiner Perkins in Silicon Valley (earlier blog on TechtoExpress).
Many women today are still avoiding technical disciplines because they are afraid they will not fit in. To make computer science more attractive to women, one might argue that we have to help young women change the way they think about themselves and what’s expected of them, i.e., take the “long view” in changing hearts and minds. But in the short term, might we also create a different tech environment that would be more inviting to women who are seeking more creative (beyond coding) approaches to tech problem solving.