Too Few Women in Tech – Am I Responsible?

Why are there so few women in tech? I was hiring quite some developers and other tech personal in the last years but hired very few women. I've pondered the querstion of women in tech for the last ten years and a Techcrunch post lately called Too Few Women In Tech? Stop Blaming The Men got me thinking again:

The problem isn’t that Silicon Valley is keeping women down, or not doing enough to encourage female entrepreneurs. The opposite is true. No, the problem is that not enough women want to become entrepreneurs.

When I was in elemental school, according to legend, I was the third best in my class and both better pupils were girls, as good or better in mathematics than me. When in college in Germany you choose two major subjects. I've chosen mathematics and physics. In the end there were no women in both courses. When studying computer science there were around 100 students, less than 10 I estimate of them were women.

The Difficulty of Hiring Women

I've been hiring tech personal since the mid 90s and very few hires were women. I would like to hire more women, but the number of job applications from women were well below 5 percent. For consistency and to make recruiting easier for me, I follow the same process in hiring with each applicant. This makes comparing applicants easier - though there are changes and optimizations over the years. When going through the same questions, coding tests and exercises the number of women from a statistically view is very small, I'd need to hire more than 20 tech personal to hire only one woman.

What is the reason there are so few women in tech? Am I part of the problem? I do not think so. Is it discrimination against women or the lack of role models? I would really like to know and what to do. Ciara Byrne says:

Research has shown that role models are important to the career choice of girls. The popular image of a programmer as a socially inept young man is not something which appeals to girls. It's important therefore to highlight women like Marissa Mayer (VP of search at Google) or Caterina Fake (cofounder of Flikr) as examples of high-profile women in the software business.

What do you think? Do you think there should be more women? Is there a problem?

Stephan Schmidt Administrator
CTO Coach , svese
Stephan is a CTO coach. He has been a coder since the early 80s, has founded several startups and worked in small and large companies as CTO. After he sold his latest startup he took up CTO coaching. He can be found on LinkedIn or follow him in Twitter.
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