Boulder *Hearts* Women in Tech

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An NCWIT talk on women, tech culture, startups, and unconscious bias presented during Boulder Startup Week 5/15/13

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  • Thanks for coming today, we’re grateful to BSW for making hosting this conversation. I’m Jenny Slade with the National Center for Women & Information Technology. We’re a national non-profit based here in Boulder, at the CU campus, funded by the NSF, foundations, and corporate sponsorship. NCWIT helps organizations recruit, retain, and advance girls and women in technology and computing careers. That means we work directly with organizations – small companies, big companies, universities, community colleges, K-12 organizations, professional groups, other non-profits – to get more women into these orgs. We do this by giving you the research, resources, tools, support and MOTIVATION necessary to make the changes that bring the women.
  • Women have been a part of Boulder’s history since the get-go. Today we’re going to talk a little about why Boulder startups should get women on-board from the get-go, too.
  • This is the part where we tell you that gender diversity isn’t just about doing the right thing. It’s not just about filling a line item on your HR diversity chart, or not wanting to embarrass your daughter when she comes to the office and wonders why there aren’t any girls working there. (though those are good things to think about, too.)
  • This number is still woefully low: successful startups have 7% of their executive positions filled by women, vs. 3.5% for unsuccessful startups. Correlation doesn’t equal causation, as we all know. But let’s pick this apart for a second: either women in leadership positions at startups cause those startups to become more successful, OR successful startups decide to hire more women into leadership positions. Either way, you want to be one of these startups. Because by the time you become a BIG company, this matters in different ways, too: among companies with a market cap of $10B or more, those with women on their board of directors outperformed those with no women in revenue growth, debt-to-equity ratio, and stock price. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-31/women-as-directors-beat-men-only-boards-in-company-stock-return.html)
  • Women can make your company more efficient and stronger during a growth phase.
  • This is an interesting finding because it absolutely counters the “rock star” approach to hiring. We all love the stories of a brilliant loner or a couple of guys dreaming up a tech company in somebody’s garage, but the fact remains that the vast majority of technology is developed by multiple people as part of a team. So whether you’re hoping to be acqui-hired or doing the acqui-hiring, it’s smarter to build good teams than look for the one brilliant guy.
  • Let’s consider this diversity thing with a non-gender-related problem. Any left-handers here? A couple of years ago a major company released a very popular phone, and people quickly began to complain about dropped calls when the phone was held a certain way. Turns out that because of where the company positioned the antenna in this phone, this problem particularly affected left-handed people, who happened to hold the phone in the “wrong” way more often. WE ALL EXPERIENCE THE WORLD IN A DIFFERENT WAY and it’s important to bring as many of those experiences as possible into the development and design of technology. (The company’s charismatic founder was ambidextrous, BTW.)
  • Nationally, the Department of Labor estimates that our economy will add 1.4 million technology-related jobs to the workforce by 2020; however, at current graduation rates, we’ll produce only enough qualified candidates to fill a third of these jobs. In Colorado, there will be about 4 tech jobs for every 1 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in computing. If you don’t call that a talent shortage, you might be living under a rock.
  • In 1969, Honeywell advertised this “kitchen computer” in the Neiman Marcus catalog. All you needed was space for this 100-pound machine. And about $10,000. And a teletype. And a paper tape reader. And some serious engineering skills. Now this is how MEN envisioned women using technology in the kitchen. But In reality, the picture on the right shows you how many women actually use technology in the kitchen – they stuff their iPad into a Ziploc bag, according to Wired magazine. If 50% of your user base isn’t represented in your design team, how can you expect to know what women want, or how they will use your product? Here’s another example: voice recognition systems, without which we wouldn’t have automated customer service trees, Siri, or the Speak-n-Spell. The systes being developed at Bell Labs in the 1960s was developed by male engineers at the time, who were …. male. When the system was tested on women for the first time, it hung up on her – it hadn’t been trained to recognize a woman’s voice octaves.
  • Women comprise 34% of web developers; 23% of programmers; 37% of database administrators; 20% of software developers; and 15% of information security analysts. So while it’s reasonable to expect better odds of women applicants if you’re advertising front-end or SQL dev jobs, women are still underrepresented in ALL tech jobs compared to their representation in professional jobs overall. In 1991, women held 37% of all computing-related occupations. Women comprise 7% of tech company founders ( Kauffman Foundation, 2010)
  • Full pipeline challenge Girls take 46% of AP Calculus exams but just 19% of AP CS exams Women earn 57% of undergraduate degrees but just 18% of Computing and Information Sciences undergraduate degrees and just 12% of CS degrees More than half (56%) of women in technology leave their employers at the mid-level point in their careers (10-20 years). Of the women who leave, 24% take a non-technical job in a different company; 22% become self-employed in a technical field; 20% take time out of the workforce; 17% take a government or non-profit technical job; 10% go to a startup company; and 7% take a non-technical job within the same company.
  • There’s a pipeline problem – not enough women coming through the pipe, being prepared for tech careers. There’s an attraction problem – the women in tech don’t want to work for your company, or apply for your job. There’s an attrition problem – the women who do choose tech careers are leaving at double the rate of men. The first one is a whole separate talk. And trust me, I’ll come to this in a few minutes, NCWIT is working on the pipeline problem. The second one is the one we’re going to focus on today, because this is the one you can act on today. The third one assumes that you’ve already managed to attract technical women, and frankly if you can conquer the second one you’re halfway towards getting the third one right.
  • We’ve all got biases – even women are biased against women. Much of our bias comes from messages provided by our culture: media, the workplace, teachers, etc. Project Implicit – measures automatic associated between gender and science. This is a national summary. Could mention where you show up in this to reinforce the fact women and men are both biased.
  • Hint: it’s a COW. ONCE YOU SEE IT, IT’S HARD NOT TO SEE IT. BUT SOME OF US DON’T SEE IT UNTIL IT’S POINTED OUT TO US.
  • Although this picture doesn’t show it, bias begins in society – it’s how we are socialized. Bias is a shortcut for how we make sense of the world, our value judgments. Unconscious bias results from “ schemas. ” Schemas are necessary to live; everyone has them. We need them to make sense of information and to function, they let us pay attention to only select information. But they can also cause us to miss or misinterpret certain things, leading to unconscious bias. So we do need to check in on ourselves every once in a while.
  • Stereotype threat is when a member of a group underperforms when reminded of a negative stereotype associated with that group. Women underperform on math tests when gender is called to their attention Seniors on memory tests African Americans when reminded about stereotypes of intelligence Study on this slide was done to show if even one instance of exposure could activate stereotype threat, even when there is also a positive stereotype about your group (white men and math). White male engineering students from Stanford – half were told they were part of a study to understand why Asians score better than white students on math tests – other half just took the test without that explanation. The first half did significantly less well….
  • We assign a whole society’s worth of beliefs to a single person and make him or her responsible for upholding a whole set of characteristics. We expect that person to succeed or fail based on our stereotypes of that person’s identity. Seem fair to you?
  • All of these examples are subtle, tiny jabs that erode a woman’s sense of belonging, confidence, her sense that she fits in. For the men involved, it’s also subtle, right? It’s not like this is discrimination, here. Again, it’s the fact that these things are said unconsciously, that they speak to the status quo, that make them insidious. Anyone catch the recent #1reasonwhy hashtag discussion on Twitter, where women shared their #1 reasons why there aren’t more women in gaming? The examples abound.
  • The bias had no relation to the professors’ age, sex, teaching field or tenure status.
  • Statistically significant differences
  • Emphasize again – both women and men
  • In these auditions, musicians are not allowed to cue their gender at all – no talking, no coughing, and they remove their shoes so that there isn’t the tell-tale sound of stilettos or men’s wingtips against the floor. **This fact really challenges the ideal of a meritocracy: if we so value performance and skills, could we review them blind and hire on them alone? Of what remains – personal characteristics that create good “fit” within a company culture, how many of you think we might, just might, evaluate fit with some bias?
  • The important thing you need to know about unconscious bias is that it’s unconscious. In other words, we don’t know that we’re doing it, and it’s not our fault. Being aware of unconscious bias is powerful, because that awareness gives us the opportunity to change the way we do things.
  • More startup women(78%) than men (60%) agree with the statement that diverse teams are better at problem solving and innovation. The vast majority of men in startups believed their companies spent an adequate amount of time addressing diversity (82%) whereas only 61% of women feel this way; women in startups were much more likely to endorse companywide practices to increase diversity (65%) than their male counterparts in startups (41%). [ LEVEL PLAYING FIELD INSTITUTE, “The Tilted Playing Field: Hidden Bias in Information Technology Workplaces,” 2011.]
  • Turn to the action piece of this.
  • Not here to offer you binders full of women. It’s not that simple, of course, and besides: simply stuffing women into binders and delivering them to you doesn’t ensure that you’ll keep them once you get them. Part of our job is to help you create a company culture that can attract and retain women on its own.
  • CTO Summit talk "How Etsy Grew their Number of Female Engineers by 500% in One Year" from Kellan Elliott-McCrea, CTO at Etsy. Etsy partnered with Hacker School to offer scholarships for women, which eventually created a HS class that was 50% female. Etsy hired 5 women and 3 men and now has 20 women on its 110-person engineering team, roughly eighteen percent (or a four and half times) increase from the 4% it had previously. Even after Etsy had “made it a priority” to increase gender diversity, its #s actually slipped. Have to put actions behind your words Efforts should be endorsed from the top – CTO, CEO on board makes people accountable Etsy found that women can make job choices differently from men, so it’s helpful to show a wide range of reasons why women might want to work at your company. Etsy found that when its efforts to hire women went public, it began receiving terrific resumes from senior female AND senior male developers, who already had great jobs but were attracted to Etsy’s ethos.
  • 1 Broadcast that you’re actively looking for underrepresented people. You’re not waiting for diversity to come to you. This is not the same as saying lower your standards to find it – it means recruiting where the women are, where the people of color are. Use THEIR networks, not your status quo networks, to advertise open jobs. Experiment with screening applications while “blind” to gender. (If you can build an HTML form, you can collect and evaluate applicants’ criteria without asking for their sex.) To “invite” diversity also means actively and repeatedly inviting women and people of color to the party. Think back to those examples of bias that we went over, and remember that women don’t take that invitation for granted. Just because you leave the door unlocked doesn’t mean your tech company is a meritocracy. What’s the harm in going out and telling the ladies that you value their contributions?
  • Anyone ever gone through a technical interview with those “gotcha” logic questions? These can often disproportionately disqualify women because 1) they play on existing stereotype threat and impostor syndrome, and 2) they are sprints where women are often endurance runners. So ask yourself, are those gotcha logic puzzles an accurate reflection of the engineering work being done in your office? Or is there another way you can test someone’s problem-solving ability? Diversity comes in many forms. For example, “functional diversity” means identifying that people use different methods and creative solutions when tackling work assignments or solving problems. A pile sort is when you provide a random set of objects or in this case terminology and ask the person to sort them according to categories that make sense to them. A pile sort is a great exercise to screen for functional diversity. It helps identify people who may be good problem-solvers but don’t use status quo methods to arrive at a solution. Also, try to interview at least one woman for every position you advertise, and try to include a woman on the interviewing committee. Remember that you’re not doing this to fulfill a quota but to include at least one woman’s perspective in the process. Google has been experimenting with making sure it has at least one woman on every hiring committee.
  • Researcher Aaron Kay has found that the use of “masculine”-associated words, particularly when used in job ads for male-dominated fields, reduce the number of women applicants for those jobs. “Masculine” language sends an subtle social cue that women aren’t desired, or don’t belong there. Want to know how subtle this is? Examples of “masculine” wording include CONFIDENT / AGGRESSIVE / OBJECTIVE / DECISIVE / ANALYTICAL / AUTONOMOUS / DOMINANT. But obvs if you’re advertising for a code ninja, you shouldn’t expect to see a lot of female applicants. (NY Times Help Wanted ads, 1964)
  • Physical environment counts a lot. Research has shown that women are less likely to be attracted to computing majors and anticipate less success in these fields when asked about their interests while sitting in a room with Star Wars posters, stacked soda cans, action figures, and other stereotypical “geek” objects. 4 Make sure you’re communicating that your office welcomes all different kinds of people, not just those who enjoy beer pong between all-night coding marathons. (Cheryan, S., Plaut, V., Davies, P., & Steele, C. (2009). Ambient belonging: How stereotypical cues impact gender participation in computer science. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97(6), 1045-1060)
  • Men have the power to make things awesome for women. Remember that by making things awesome for women, you’re also making things awesome for yourself – because your company is more likely to be correlated with success measures, and because working on teams with women is awesome – but there’s another reason to get involved on behalf of women, too. The status quo was created with men in mind and that means men are more likely to be in positions to change it.
  • What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Men also like to get encouragement and credit for their work. Men also like time off for having a baby or taking care of a sick parent. Men also like to be given a clear path to promotion. Men also benefit from trained supervisors. None of these changes to the status quo hurts or hinders men in any way.
  • We’re NCWIT, and we’re here to help. Get other tips like these, plus the tools to implement them, by joining NCWIT. It’s free. We’re a nonprofit community of change leaders, people from over 450 organizations like yours,
  • All NCWIT resources are research-backed, designed for out-of-the-box use, designed for action and appeal, and available free online
  • The Academic Alliance members work towards institutional change in higher education. The Affinity Group Alliance brings together national and local Affinity groups that provide support, networking, and professional development. The Entrepreneurial Alliance helps young companies establish diversity at the start. The K-12 Alliance works on the image and teaching of computing. The Workforce Alliance leads efforts in corporate organizational reform. The Social Science Advisory Board advises NCWIT and its members on projects and evaluation.
  • The Entrepreneurial Alliance gives startup companies support for recruiting and retaining technical women. The alliance is divided regionally into clusters, and y’all are the mountain cluster. You’re in good company. Also have east coast and west coast covered.
  • Boulder *Hearts* Women in Tech

    1. 1. Boulder <3s Women in Tech!Boulder Startup Week: May 15, 2013!Jenny Slade, NCWIT!!@ncwit | @bldrstartupweek | #BSW13
    2. 2. Women Make Boulder Awesome!
    3. 3. Why Women Matter to Technology!
    4. 4. Women Correlate with Success!Analysis of more than 20,000venture-backed companiesshowed that successfulstartups have twice asmany women in seniorpositions as unsuccessfulcompanies.!Dow Jones VentureSource, 2011.!
    5. 5. Women Help Companies Grow!Tech companies with women havebeen shown to use 40 percent lesscapital and be more likely tosurvive the transition from startup toestablished company.!Cindy Padnos, Illuminate Ventures: "High Performance Entrepreneurs: Women in High-Tech," 2010.
    6. 6. Women Improve Innovation!The presence of women in a group ismore likely to increase the collectiveintelligence (problem-solving ability,creativity) of the group than thepresence of individuals with higherintelligence.!“Evidence for a Collective Intelligence Factor in the Performanceof Human Groups,” Science October 2010, Woolley, Chabris,Pentland, Hashmi and Malone.!
    7. 7. Women Enhance Teams!Scott Page, The difference: How the power of diversity creates better groups, firms, schools, and societies, PrincetonUniversity Press, 2009.!Groups with greater diversity solvecomplex problems better and fasterthan homogenous groups.!
    8. 8. Women Are 50% of the Population.Why Handicap Your Hiring by 50%?!"We simply cannot afford to alienatelarge chunks of the workforce. It is awidely understood truth that the singlebiggest challenge is attracting the rightpeople … to literally handicap yourselfby 50 percent is insanity.”!- Dan Shapiro, Google!
    9. 9. Women Are 50% of the Market!
    10. 10. Women in Tech, By the Numbers!Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, 2012; Dow Jones VentureSource, 2012.!Percent of U.S. technology jobs held bywomen!26!Percent of women executives at U.S.venture-backed startups!11!Percent of U.S. professional occupationsheld by women!57!Percent of U.S. software developers whoare women!20!
    11. 11. The Numbers Don’t Add Up!
    12. 12. Why So Few Women in Tech?!Pipeline! Attrition!Attraction!
    13. 13. Society’s Biased About Gender andTechnology!
    14. 14. !!What Do You See In This Picture?!
    15. 15. What Is Unconscious Bias?!We all have shortcuts,“schemas” that help usmake sense of the world.But our shortcutssometimes make usmisinterpret things.!That’s unconscious bias.!
    16. 16. Example: White maleengineering studentsscore lower when told inadvance that Asianstypically score higheron math testsSource: Aronson, et al., 1999; Steele & Aronson, 1998!Unconscious Bias = StereotypeThreat!
    17. 17. Unconscious Bias = Tokenism!AfricanAmericansXkcd.org with modification by Cohoon, 2012!
    18. 18. Unconscious Bias = Micro-inequities!»  Slights: “You’re the receptionist, right?”!»  Exclusion: “Oops, I forgot to cc her on that email.”»  Recognition: “No, I’m pretty sure it was Tom’s idea,not Jane’s, to use a link algorithm.”»  Isolation: “Dude, let’s grab a beer!”
    19. 19. Unconscious Bias in PerformanceAppraisal!Identical resumes.Gendered names. !!Reviewers (of bothgenders) stronglyfavor John inskills, hireability,and salary.!
    20. 20. Howard vs. Heidi!
    21. 21. Howard vs. Heidi!
    22. 22. Howard vs. Heidi!
    23. 23. “Blind” orchestraauditions, with musiciansbehind a curtain,increased the number offemale musicians hiredby 25% to 46% percent. !!Goldin & Rouse (2000) The American Economic Review, 90(4), 715-741.!Unconscious Bias in Hiring!
    24. 24. Unconscious Bias Is…Unconscious.!
    25. 25. Women and Men at Startups SeeThings Differently …!
    26. 26. Case Study: How Etsy Grew ItsFemale Engineering Team by 500%!Take action from the top!Don’t just say you care about diversity!Show why your company is a great place to work!Invest in early talent!Put more than 1 woman on a team (don’t isolate them)!Integrate your workspaces!
    27. 27. Invite diversity. Use diverse networks, notjust your status quo networks, to recruit.!Include a woman, and a pile sort, in your jobinterviews.!Remove biased language from jobdescriptions.!Audit your physical space for gender-neutralvibes.!If you’re a man, be a male advocate.!!5 Things You Can Do Today!1!2!3!4!5!
    28. 28. 1) Invite Diversity!
    29. 29. 2) Include a Woman, and a Pile Sort,in Job Interviews!Pile sort: www.ncwit.org/interviewstrategies !
    30. 30. 3) Remove Biased Language fromJob Descriptions!“Startups and Job Advertisements,” Aaron Kay, PhD: http://ww2.ncwit.org/pdf/A.Kay_JobPostings_EAmtg12.pdf; http://vimeo.com/46501265CONFIDENT OBJECTIVE DECISIVEANALYTICAL AUTONOMOUS DOMINANT!
    31. 31. 4) Audit Your Physical Space forGendered Vibes!!(Cheryan, S., Plaut, V., Davies, P., & Steele, C. (2009). Ambient belonging: How stereotypical cues impact gender participation in computerscience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97(6), 1045-1060; http://www.ncwit.org/physicalspaceuw !
    32. 32. 5) If You’re a Man, Be a MaleAdvocate!
    33. 33. What’s Good for the Goose …!
    34. 34. NCWIT is the National Center forWomen & Information Technology!Our coalition includes more than 250 universities, corporations, and non-profits.!We Can Help.!
    35. 35. Get Going with Free, Research-backed Resources and Programs!
    36. 36. We Plug You In. !
    37. 37. Panel!»  Ingrid Alongi: Co-founder and CEO, Quick Left»  Jim Franklin: CEO, SendGrid»  Greg Greenstreet: VP of Engineering, Gnip»  Leslie Osborne: VP of Product + Operations,Standing Cloud»  Krista Marks: Engineer, Founder of Nimbee, Kerpoof

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