According to data from the National Science Foundation, more women
than ever are earning STEM degrees but only 38% of women who majored in
computer science are working in the field compared to 53% of men.
And this should be discussed?
Have you watched The Social Network?
If this heading piqued you to open this blog, I
assume you must have.
Remember the great opening scene in The Social
Network, where Mark Zukerberg’s character (and remember, this is a work of
fiction, so it is just a character) is being dumped by his girlfriend and
she says something like, “You’re going to think that
people don’t like you because you’re a geek, but that’s not it, it’s
because you’re an asshole.”
Indeed, the rest of that movie seems the
perfect depiction of the “brogramming”
attitude that swept the tech industry.
Brogramming is an internet slang term used to
refer to computer code produced by
“bros” — slang for male friends, particularly fraternity brothers
— who are programmers. Apparently, this internet meme
kicked off in summer 2011 with some threads on Quora.
The cool programmers’ boy clubs who code hard
and party hard (maybe we can consider all those Ted Talks/Pep
Interviews/Sassy Linkedin Comments/Expensive Cars/fly 20 days a month- as
current-day party definition). In the U.S there was an entire wave of this
community in Silicon Valley (not saying it has vanished completely now) with
Startups like Uber, Napsters, Go Daddy, Klout and many more.
And why should we
One of the main problems is the fraternizing
culture’s “exclusionary aspect,” which further alienates women from an
already male-dominated profession. It’s a club ladies can’t join.
The imbalance of men to women in tech should be
addressed much earlier than by the time women are old enough for the
Guy Kawasaki often quips
that you should never do anything in business without checking with a
woman first. Although I tend not to buy into gender stereotypes but he
posits that men possess a “killer instinct” that they can’t always turn
off. They want to kill the competition, kill the pitch, kill kill kill!
And to do so, they need to be badder, louder, bigger, tougher and faster
than the competition.
Is this a wave of Brogramming in the Indian
With the momentous rise of the Indian Start-Up
Ecosystem, India is the third-largest, startup
ecosystem in the world and is home to 21 unicorns valued at
$73.2 billion. By some estimates, more than 50 soonicorns’ startups might
join the unicorn club as early as 2022.
Diversity in the technology industry workforce
worldwide has been a topic of deliberation for a long while. Numerous
reports suggest that the ratio of women opting for STEM courses in their
academics and technology streams in their careers is not sufficient. Indian IT industry attracts more women, but many exits
within the first 5 years in the job.
Gender disparity across the Indian startup
ecosystem has increased in 2020 with nearly 77% of firms having less than
20% women in leadership roles, compared to 69% in 2019, according to a
report, Startup Outlook Report 2021.
“Whether it is founders hiring from STEM
backgrounds, or making lateral hires from corporate leadership pools, there
is a gap in gender diversity already prevailing which is spilling over to
startups as well,” — Ashish Sharma, chief executive, Innoven Capital
Building a startup means growing as fast as you can before running
out of money. You hire whoever’s available right now who you can afford. If
you do that in a male-dominated field without thinking about it, you wind up
with a ton of men. Left unchecked, that can create the sorts of toxic
conditions for women we’ve been hearing so much about lately; at best, it’s
terrible for business, since your team should reflect your customer base. So
maintaining the status quo isn’t an option.
But when did this become A Man’s World?
Was programming always about
The world’s first computer programmers,
according to historian Nathan Ensmenger, author of The Computer Boys
Take Over, were six women who ran one of the first
electronic computers, an ENIAC machine, at the University of Pennsylvania in
the early 1940s. By the 1960s, women made up 30% to 50% of all programmers.
This story was shown in Hidden Figures: The
American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women
Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, adapted from
Margot Lee Shetterly’s book the film focuses on three real-life
African-American female pioneers: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, who were part of
NASA’s team of human “computers.” This was a group made up of mostly women
who calculated by hand the complex equations that allowed space heroes like
Neil Armstrong, Alan Shepard, and Glenn to travel safely to
So, what should we be mindful of?
Diversity is critical in tech, as it enables
companies to create better and safer products that take everyone into
consideration, not just one section of society. Moreover, a 2020 report from McKinsey found
that diverse companies perform better, hire better
talent, have more engaged employees, and retain workers better than
companies that do not focus on diversity and inclusion.