I was catching up on some reading this weekend when I came across this article on FastCompany that spoke about "Why Your Startup Culture Is Secretly Awful". It's not a very flattering treatise on the state of startup / entrepreneurial culture.
One of the points delivered by the article was about how sexism keeps women out of the tech industry. The degree to which this is true I am not certain but I found the mere mention of it to be incongruent with what tech and entrepreneurism should be about. It should be a place where mastering new uncharted problems combined with the best execution are how you 'win'. Whoever helps get you to the finish line is worth their weight in gold - period.
In an industry where there is effectively zero unemployment, where great talent is so challenging to hire and diversity of perspective so critical for a successful product - why would this industry consciously, aggressively, make it so difficult for women to not just survive but thrive? Is this condition really true?
I question the supposition when I can reference such tech industry luminaries as Hilary Mason, who is at the vanguard of the latest hot trend known as Data Science and see a person that is not just participating - but is leading. She is now the Data Scientist in Residence at Venture Capital firm Accel Partners.
I look at the Python group here in Los Angeles known as PyLadies - women who hang out and code. It's a well known and very popular group that "promote, educate and advance a diverse Python community through outreach, education, conferences, events". That's awesome.
I've read about Carnegie Mellon University's mentorship program (women@scs) for women in computer science whose mission is to "create, encourage, and support academic, social, and professional opportunities for women in computer science and to promote the breadth of the field and its diverse community." A campus study demonstrates that CMU has successfully modified the affective CS peer culture on campus to be more inclusive of women.
The effort appears to be working as CMU admissions reports that 35% percent of the CS freshman class of 2013 is composed of women (in 1995 the class was 7% women).
It seems as though there is great progress being made in what was once a male dominated field. Perhaps there are still pockets of ambivalence?
Let me know what you have experienced -