How do we change Silicon Valley culture? Make sure men, as well as woman, are calling for change, argues Vivek Wadhwa.
By Carol Realini (Founder & Chairman, Obopay)
Women in technology have been second class citizens for too long – get any group of women in tech together and listen to their stories. Most do well despite the gender biases – but biases are real and substantive obstacles to a women’s career in technology. And this hurts companies because it lessens women’s contribution to the company’s top and bottom line. Worse case, talented women get worn out and move on in their life and leave the tech industry.
The higher you go up in a technology company the fewer women there are. I am at Money2020 where 85% of attendees and 95% of presenters are men. Too bad for the payment industry – they are missing out on immense talent.
Vivek Wadhwa is a Silicon Valley insider and is on a mission to change this. He is working on a book on women in tech, and frequently writes about how Silicon Valley is a boys club that is actively preventing women for contributing fully – although he points out there are a few notable exceptions.
He is not the first person to discuss this problem, but he is the first man with a strong public voice to take on this cause and fight for the right things to happen. This is great because it will get more attention to it – more than if women are the only ones fighting for it.
The civil rights movement in the 60’s took on significantly more momentum when non-black people joined in. If more men join in, we will accelerate progress to eliminating gender biases in the tech industry.
I have lived through a gender bias tech industry since 1976 when I started my career as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. I have accomplished a lot including being a successful entrepreneur and CEO. Yet I am tired of the gender bias, as most of other women in technology are. I especially don’t want young women entering the workforce today to experience the treatment and obstacles my generation faced. Myself and other experienced women want to be on public boards; we have a lot to contribute and I know having these women on boards will make the industry better in many ways.
We saw the power of straight people joining gays in their fight for marriage equality. And whites joining blacks in the civil rights movement. It creates momentum for change – and it is the right thing to do. So men who agree with Vivek, now is the time to speak up. And with social media and open media forums like Huffington Post, it has never been easier to have your voice heard.
It will make a difference – trust me.
Do you think that more men need to speak up?
This post was originally syndicated from Carol L. Realini’s blog.
About the guest blogger: Carol Realini (@carolrealini) is a serial entrepreneur, mobile banking pioneer, and successful author. She is a globally recognized expert in financial service innovation. In 2011, as a Technology Pioneer attending the World Economic Forum, she led discussions on alternative banking at their meeting in Davos. A serial entrepreneur, she has been recognized as one of the 50 Top Women in Technology by Corporate Board Member magazine. Carol mentors entrepreneurs and sits on boards of multiple companies focused on technology-enabled financial inclusion.