Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Women in Tech: Holy Grail or PR Pipe Dream
It’s so common now, it’s a cliché, men dominate the tech industry – particularly at its beating heart: Silicon Valley. But there’s a growing trend hoping to displace that assumption, not only leveling the playing field but making the technology industry inherently attractive and welcoming to both genders. But instead of trying to change the Boy’s Club in tech, the women involved in this effort are staging a public relations coup that begins in elementary school.
Mary Grove of Google told the media she and her compatriots are working to challenge and change the face of tech. Because Google, she says, is a culture of “doers,” there’s no need to try to attack the cliché. Instead, they are working to build a “pipeline of talent” to encourage women to begin thinking about careers in technology while in elementary school. If they can grasp the imaginations of these girls before the cauldron of puberty, distraction and social convention peck at them, then there’s a better chance these girls will find a dream and follow through with it – no matter what gets in their way.
In other words, instead of trying to force the industry to change, these savvy women are working to change how women – of any age – think about technology. Instead of something “for boys” they are encouraged to look at technology as it is – interesting, compelling, malleable and full of potential.
For this strategy to work, those involved will need to employ a multifaceted, cross-generational public relations campaign. They will need to target adults interested in technology as well as educators training the next generation of young people. If those educators engender an environment that encourages anyone interested to pursue tech studies, then a generation of young women could emerge for whom today’s stigma is little more than a sad, silly memory.
Jonah Engler is a financial expert who embraces technology and social media. Engler hails from NYC.