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I was shocked around the holidays when I read a Washington Post article by Brigid Schulte that said more than 40 percent of degrees in statistics are earned by women. Schulte puts it in perspective: Only 18 percent of computer science degrees go to women.
The gender diversity in statistics is great because it’s a hot field right now. Statisticians are in high demand in the tech sector to work on Big Data and business intelligence projects.
Other STEM fields would do well to emulate what statistics has done to increase its diversity: Make an environment where women feel welcome, show there are female role models, and most importantly, “treat them like humans and as equals,” said Walter Stroup, a University of Lincoln-Nebraska statistics professor interviewed by Schulte.
Thankfully, companies like Google and Apple that released their diversity data last year did a lot to bring the gender imbalance to light. This has put pressure on the tech sector to do a better job of making the industry welcoming to women as well as showing young women the possibilities of a career in technology fields.
Change will take time—just take a look at speakers from the Consumer Electronics Show this month. Rebecca Strong, who wrote the article, noted, “There’s an irony to the lack of female speakers at CES: Much of the technology showcased was marketed toward women.”
It’s indicative of the business side to the problem—in order to create great products and services, the people building and marketing them need to reflect the consumers.
A Beta Boston blog post summarized what we should expect in 2015:
1. More women taking advantage of coding workshops and programs
2. More communities for women to network and cocreate technology
3. More women who take the leap and found their own tech companies
4. A societal shift that recognizes and lauds women’s contributions to the field
Here’s to seeing these changes in 2015!
Check out our related infographic, Completing the Circuit: Rewiring IT for Greater Gender Diversity.
As part of TEKsystems’ public relations team, Vanessa Ulrich reads everything she can about the technology industry and emerging trends. Vanessa blogs about where technology and society collide, giving context and commentary to top news stories. You can reach her with questions and comments @vanessulr via Twitter.