I am posting this entry from Hill Country in Austin outside of SXSW. Because it started as a tech event where important trends are discovered, it seems to me that women leadership in tech companies is a relevant topic #womensxsw which should be given greater breadth and depth of coverage.
Let’s start at the top. Marissa Mayer is among a handful of women, which include Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, who have led large technology businesses in what is traditionally viewed as an area dominated by men. It is important to realize that for every Marissa Mayer leading a big tech company, there are dozens of other women who successfully run smaller technology concerns.
Tech companies are frequently criticized for their lack of diversity. If you care enough to investigate, you will find a lot of research on the topic. Although many commentators improperly group women with minority populations, chief among diversity concerns are women in leadership positions.
Contrary to many stereotypes, women dominate men by more actively using certain areas of technology such as social media. Please consider the following data from Business Insider and Entrepreneur Magazine which support this claim.
Women are leading the shift from desktop to mobile platforms:
– Women: 69% use mobile
– Men: 39% use mobile
Women are more active on certain social media platforms:
— Women have 55% more posts to their Facebook walls than men.
— 40 million more women visit Twitter each month than men.
— 20% women (vs. 15% for men) use Instagram.
— 25% more women than men use Pinterest.
Considering these data, a lack of women working in technology fields cannot be simply brushed aside or casually explained as “men do tech better than women”. It’s simply not true.
If we are serious about making further inroads and beginning to advance solutions, we must be open to input from all participants and stakeholders. Because this is a layered topic, a much more involved issue and an evolving area to explore further; I will limit this post and hope the unbiased, factual information I provide helps to raise further awareness.
Today in business, we talk about multiple points of value. However, until we act upon our words and discusssions, the only value point we consider important or do anything about is financial gain.
In closing, I would like to circle back around to Marissa Mayer who has dominated headlines recently because Verizon is acquiring Yahoo. A lot of naysayers will either criticize Ms. Mayer’s CEO leadership of Yahoo or justify her firing once the acquisition is complete. Fewer commentators will compliment her performance as a leader over several years, credit her for the acquisition or mention her severance package worth about $23 million as a job well done. Please note this a value point on financial gain of women leadership in technology.
As it is in other areas of business, there is a double-standard way of how we selectively reduce the importance of women in technology. Rather than do likewise, I would suggest that we consider Ms. Mayer as another trailblazer and admit to a lack of women in technology as a solution we are working to resolve. If your organization sees it as a problem you are already falling behind. In order to make progress, you need to shift your mindset. The best companies capitalize on employing women in technology and see it as an opportunity for success.