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Hercode Wittyfullreportfinal 090717195554 Phpapp02
, User Experience + Design Lead
France Telecom (Orange Labs)
Jan 16, 2010
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1. Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Acknowledgements The research team consists of Pascale Diaine (Project Lead), Matthew Farwell, Mark Plakias, and Natalie Quizon (Co-lead). We would like to thank the following people for their contributions to this study. To our first wave of interviewees who provided us with their time and experiences: Ann Winblad at Hummer Winblad, Marissa Mayer at Google, Katherine Barr, Sarah Lacy, Clara Shih, Kaliya Hamlin, and Shaherose Charania of Women 2.0. We gratefully acknowledge our colleagues within Orange who provided early feedback, some important introductions, and more importantly their encouragement: Nathalie Boulanger, Roseline Kalifa, and Beatrice Mandine. Finally we would like to thank Georges Nahon, the CEO of Orange Labs SF who gave us the green light to explore this rich history and vibrant present here in Silicon Valley -- one that deserves a much wider recognition and visibility, which we hope this will in some measure deliver. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 2
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Table of Contents 1 Acknowledgements 2 Purpose & Methodology 4 Chapter 1: Past & Current Contexts 7 Chapter 2: The Women of Silicon Valley in Context 15 Chapter 3: The New Network 28 Chapter 4: What About The Media? 34 Chapter 5: Three Generations of Women and the Net 38 Conclusions 53 Postscript: Walk the Talk 58 Additional Notes & Acknowledgements 60 © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 3
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Purpose & Methodology Introduction The genesis of this research report began at the beginning of 2009, but it had been building for a long time before that. Orange Labs San Francisco (OLSF) researchers and managers had been seeing more and more activity in the Silicon Valley ecosystem being headed up by women. Activity in the broadest sense: events, startups, influential blogs, keynote presentations at major conferences, venture capitalists, CIOs and CTOs at companies like Cisco and Adobe, Sun and Agilent. A core group met to discuss what would be involved in a focused study about the history, current status, and future of women in the cradle of high- tech, Silicon Valley. The questions we asked included ones to which we have been able to reach conclusions, and others which remain open questions. A partial list of such questions we asked: Why are women under-represented in engineering schools? What are the contributions of women to Silicon Valley historically? Why do some women founders leave their company at some point? How do we weight the contribution of people-facing disciplines where women are very visible vs 'things' orientation of male- dominated fabrication and engineering? To what extent are the issues of 'work-life balance', 'glass ceiling' and 'biological clocks' useful areas of study, and not just stereotypical frames to control the conversation? Does Silicon Valley afford women greater opportunity? Is gender less of an issue? Or, more of an issue given the geek culture of the Valley? What role has the media played in celebrating the success of 'nerds' (typically young, white Ivy School engineering graduates/dropouts) in obscuring women's contribution? What is the impact of gender diversity on innovation rates, on financial performance? Our initial kickoff meeting took place on January 7, 2009. One week later, amidst an intense media circus, Carol Bartz, the very successful CEO of Autodesk, was announced as the successor to Jerry Yang as the CEO of Yahoo! Suddenly, a lot of other people in the Valley started to look around at the role of women in tech. Definitions The phrase "women in tech" has many facets to it. The research team has taken a broad interpretation of the phrase, and offset this with a strong focus on Silicon Valley, where the Orange Labs San Francisco © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 4
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley facility regularly hosts interactions with the ecosystem, as well as maintains an active schedule of attending external events and engaging with the Silicon Valley tech community. Indeed, the growing number of richness of networking events designed around the women in tech theme was one of the impetus for conducting the study – a discussion of the Network model for advancing Women in Tech is found in Chapter X. The broad definition of women in tech encompasses over 30 years of activity in multiple disciplines including: Academia/Educ Engineering Product/Indu Marketing Manageme ation strial Design nt & Finance Professors, Semiconduc CE, Internet PR, Events CEOs, Post-Docs, tor, Services, design, CIOs, Graduate Network Social media, Evangelism CTOs, Students, equipment, Videogames, , Bloggers, Startup Servers, Content Analysts, Founders, Software Journalists VCs, Angels Scope, Methods, and Procedures The primary mission of Orange Labs SF is to extract and interact with the Silicon Valley ecosystem in order to drive innovation that benefits and aligns with FTGroup's strategic objectives. This framing allowed the team to focus its study of the broadly-defined definition of 'women in tech' shown above on the area of Northern California stretching from San Jose in the south to San Francisco to the north – what the world knows as Silicon Valley. As noted above, the chronological scope of the study was the period spanning the '80s to the current time, which demographically encompasses the generations known as Boomers (born post-WWII), "GenX (born post-1965), and "GenY" (born post-1977). Before exploring methodology of the research, a word about the team. The principal investigators for the Women In Tech study, entitled Her Code: Engenderiong Change in Silicon Valley, are both women, with diversified backgrounds. They were assisted by two men. Collectively, the team spanned all three generations covered in the report's scope, and incorporated: - Cultural anthropologist - GenX - Wireless software engineer - GenY - Market researcher - Boomer © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 5
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley - Multimedia intern – GenY The methodology used in the study consisted of both primary and secondary research sources. These can be summarized as follows: - Secondary sources consisted of a traditional literature search for academic papers and news articles. In addition to the standard literature search, the team focused on a corpus of trade and business publications to conduct some preliminary content analysis studies, in connection with the questions of bias in representation of gender in technology reportage1. - Primary sources consisted of several observational venues, as well as direct interviews. Direct observation and engagement within the WIT (Women in Tech) ecosystem of Silicon Valley is part of the ongoing mission of Orange Labs SF researchers, so this activity was readily to be incorporated into the study.2 The other primary source was direct interviews with WIT personae, including high- visibility executives, VCs, developers, and bloggers active in the Valley. The results of many of the interviews are available in edited form as a short video documentary accompanying this report. Procedurally, the team set as an objective to conduct the research and production processes using innovations wherever possible. From a tools and a rhetorical perspective, we deliberately sought to avoid established clichés and legacy methods. Instead of circulating source materials and drafts by email for example, we used Google Notebook, a cloud-based collaborative resource, to log links and resources, create lists, and objectives. As noted, we incorporated videography from Day 1 into our primary methodology, which allowed us to frame questions that cut across all three generations of respondents. And finally, speaking of the three generations, we sought a framing mechanism that would transcend the all-too-abundant stereotypical frames of Work/Home, Parity/Inequality, Mentoring/Appropriation, and many other memes -- all of which have some grounding in experience, but too often dead-end in obscuring the amazing accomplishments of women in tech. The framing we selected is both appropriate to Silicon Valley, and reflective of the ascendant place for women in the 21st century of the Networked Economy. By locating the three generations of women innovators with respect to the evolution of the Internet, we believe we have created a fresh perspective that provides a global outlook, values diversity, re-examines the role of technology itself, calls for a shared responsibility, and most importantly, is open to all. 1 Publications such as InformationWeek, ComputerWorld, CIO Magazine. 2 This included 'camps' and other 'unevents' such as Girls In Tech, She's Geeky, Woman 2.0; see Chapter 4 for detailed discussion. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 6
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Chapter 1: Past & Current Contexts In this opening chapter we review the historical literature about women's accomplishments in computing generally, with a specific focus on Silicon Valley as it emerges as a locus of activity post-WWI. I. The Secret History: Past Achievements of Women in Tech The history of women in tech goes as far back as computer technology itself. In the 1840's, English mathematician Charles Babbage created the idea of a programmable computer. Called the "Analytical Engine," it was capable of computing complex series of equations. Ada Lovelace, also a mathematician, was one of the few people to fully understand Babbage's idea. Given time to study Babbage's notes, Lovelace developed an algorithm for generating a complex series of numbers using the Analytical Engine. As such, many consider her the first computer programmer. Clearly, Ms. Lovelace was ahead of her time, as the computer was not fully realized until close to one hundred years later. The first modern computer came to fruition in 1946. Called the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), it was capable of computations far exceeding that of any of its predecessors. It was quickly discovered that the ENIAC had severe shortcomings, namely the fact that it took weeks to map a problem from paper to program. A team of computer scientists, led by Adele Goldstine solved this dilemma by developing a modification that cut the reprogramming time on the ENIAC from days to hours and effectively shaped the future of computing as we know it. Called the Stored Program Computer, it was the model for future computers and showed them as something both powerful and efficient. In the next twenty years, the power and prevalence of computers increased exponentially. The language in which they operated – machine code – was esoteric and in need of change. In 1959, Grace Hopper, a computer scientist employed by the United States Navy posited that computers could operate on a language closely resembling English. It was from this theory that one of the world's most popular computer languages – COBOL – was developed. Hopper was also integral in the standardization of COBOL in 1968. It was around this time that Barbara Liskov challenged the paradigms of academic institutions and enrolled in © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 7
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley the Computer Science doctorate program at Stanford University. She was the first female Ph.D. recipient of a Computer Science degree in the United States. Many of the advancements made in technology in the 1970's were coming out of a swath of land in Northern California that was aptly named "Silicon Valley". It was here that software was designed, semiconductors were built, and venture capital firms sprouted up to fund many of these innovative ideas. A hotbed of technological advancements, it wasn't long before women starting making their impressions felt in Silicon Valley. Because of companies like Apple and Microsoft, personal computers were becoming a reality for many people. They were small and cheap enough for the average person to afford and their software greatly enhanced the lives of users. With this ubiquity came a bevy of data that was quickly becoming unmanageable. To the forward-thinking, computers and software were the wave of the future. In 1976, a computer programmer by the name of Ann Winblad foresaw the growing need for financial accounting software and co-founded Open Systems, Inc. with a $500 investment. Six years later, Ms. Winblad sold Open Systems for $15 million dollars. By 1985, computer scientist Radia Perlman invented a network solution called "Spanning Tree Protocol" that would automatically back-up broken links and reduce downtimes in Local Area Networks. Prior to Perlman's discovery, if a LAN failed it would remain in stasis until someone manually remedied the problem. This was the same year that Sandra Lerner, along with her husband Len Bosack, starting hand-assembling the first Cisco routers in the living room of their Silicon Valley home. The late 1980's was the beginning of women moving beyond the roles of engineers and scientists to become the founders and heads of some of the worlds most influential and powerful technology firms. In 1988, Eva Chen co-founded Trend Micro, an anti-virus software company that today has a market value of over $5.5 billion and is one of the largest software companies in the world. Not long after her, Ann Winblad again used her foresight and expertise to co-found Hummer-Winblad Venture Partners, the first venture firm focusing specifically on investing in software companies. Ms. Winblad is considered Silicon Valley's first female venture capitalist and is featured in the accompanying video, “Three Generations of Women Leaders in Silicon Valley.” In 1992, software company Autodesk was floundering and in need of change. They looked to Sun Microsystems’ Carol Bartz to lead them in a new direction; to say she succeeded would be an understatement. Under CEO Bartz, Autodesk became the leading provider of computer- aided design software and established itself as a global powerhouse. By the late-1990's, Silicon Valley had firmly entrenched itself as the world capital for innovation. Technology's growth began to pervade many © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 8
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley aspects of consumers lives. The internet, in particular, was a phenomenon being experienced, exploited, and enjoyed by millions across the globe. One company that aimed to leverage the power of the internet was eBay, a small e-commerce start-up with only 30 employees and relatively limited funding. Seeking to grow from an innovative idea to a viable business, in 1998 eBay tapped Meg Whitman to lead it to new heights. It's interesting to note that prior to eBay, Ms. Whitman had a very limited technical background. Where she excelled was in management, and under Whitman, eBay grew to become the world’s foremost authority in online auctions, serving millions of users and generating billions of dollars in annual revenues. The same year that Ms. Whitman joined eBay, Diane Greene co-founded virtualization firm VMware. In a few short years VMware became the market leader in software virtualization, serving 99 of the Fortune 100 companies. Just one year later, a couple of Stanford engineering students revolutionized internet search and advertising with Google. Their 19th employee and first female engineer was Marissa Mayer, a fresh graduate of Stanford with a keen eye for design. Ms. Mayer, who also appears in our accompanying video, quickly ascended the ranks of Google to her current role as Vice President by leading the design of Google's user interface and managing the proliferation of such services as Gmail and Google News. Also in 1999, HP appointed Carly Fiorina as CEO. This capacity made Ms. Fiorina the first ever female CEO of a company in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. In this capacity, Ms. Fiorina triggered the acquisition of Compaq and saw HP reestablish itself as one of the market leaders in personal computers. By the turn of the century, the dot-com bubble had burst and many technology firms were reeling. Xerox, an established enterprise with decades of industry service was not exempt. With their business flailing, embroiled in scandal, and on the brink of financial insolvency they installed longtime employee Anne Mulcahy as CEO. Ms. Mulcahy is credited with saving Xerox from a seemingly certain demise and in 2008 was named Chief Executive of the Year by her fellow peers. As we will discuss later in this report, one of the most important technological developments in the past five years has been the proliferation of social networking sites. Their utility cannot be denied and their exponential growth cannot be ignored. Very few anticipated this trend as well as Gina Bianchini, CEO and co-founder of Ning.com. Ms. Bianchini, who is featured in our video, has been at the helm of Ning since the beginning and has overseen a company which has raised over $100 million in funding while boasting in excess of 1,000,000 custom social networks and millions of unique visitors. Clearly, the aforementioned women have played a key role in shaping the technological landscape as we know it. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 9
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Later in this report we will profile some of today’s most influential and powerful women in technology. Included are such success stories as Yahoo's Carol Bartz and Cisco's Padmasree Warrior. They are today’s example of women leaders, who though relatively small in number have left an indelible mark on the history of technology and computing. One can only surmise that this will continue as technology forges its path ahead, though the contributions will continue to be limited if something is not done to remedy the disparity that exists when it comes to the gender balance of the industry as a whole. II. State of Emergency? Computer Curricula and Women Our review of the literature reveals a strong bias towards framing the discussion about women in tech around traditional analytical frameworks of educational, governmental, and cultural dimensions. From the classroom to the boardroom, abundant statistics show an alarming trend in regards to the number of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). For instance, a study released by the Computer Research Association shows that Bachelors of Computer Science degrees awarded to women in 2008 were a paltry 11.8 percent3. It is no less surprising then that computer science has the dubious distinction of being the only science field to see a fall in the share of its bachelor's degrees granted to women between 1983 and 2002. The numbers are slightly more encouraging at the Master's level, where women account for 23 percent of CS degrees. 3 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/17/science/17comp.html © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 10
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley miss-ing 2% of Open Source developers are female. 1/4 8.5% proprietary software of Silicon Valley developers are female. companies have a female board director. 11.8% of Computer Science bachelors 3% of venture-funded degrees are awarded to companies are run by women. women. As one may expect, low enrollment of women in CS programs equates to low involvement of professional women in the tech-sphere. Currently, men outnumber women in tech positions by an average of four-to-one4. With the amount of CS degrees being awarded to women approaching an all-time low, it is becoming increasingly clear that these new positions cannot be filled only by women trained in the classical sense – at universities offering computer science disciplines. 4 Figure 1, Bureau of Labor Statistics © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 11
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley "It does require evenings and weekends. Open- source communities are global and work around the clock." - Source name and title As Leah Culver, of Pownce and SixApart, notes in our project video, only two percent of Open Source developers are women. This is an alarming figure, especially given the traction the Open Source has been gaining both with the Linux and Android operating systems. We can posit two reasons for such meager involvement. First, and perhaps most evident, is that Open Source communities are notorious for long and irregular hours, something that puts a significant strain on the work-life balance. For women planning to have children this can be a significant deterrent. The second reason is far more troubling, essentially suggesting that some men in Open Source tend to view women as innately inferior and will at times voice their opinions in neither a professional nor polite manner5. Strides are being made to combat these issues by creating women-focused groups in Open Source communities, but still more must be done to lessen the gender gap . Much like the number of bachelors vs. Masters CS degrees, a 26 percent female involvement rate in proprietary software6 seems on the surface a good thing when compared to that of Open Source. However it may simply reflect 5 http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do? command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=103777 6 FLOSSPOLS, 2004-2006 © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 12
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley commercial realities where paid software licensing models create more economic and organizational activity, versus the more innovative and community-based activity of the open source software movement. Later in this report we will present a more nuanced view of the problem statement than visible in these one-dimensional statistical time series. Moving beyond the educational and occupational frameworks is important if we want to appreciate the true extent of the female contribution, both historical and emergent. We close this opening chapter with a preview of how a more expansive outlook – one that embraces today's global technology platforms – provides an alternative perspective to the insider/outsider, glass ceiling frames that have dominated the discussion to date. III. Changing Patterns: Technology attitudes and use among Girls There exists a significant body of literature seeking to explain the scarcity of women in technology-related fields. While there is no definitive answer, there are strong arguments to be made that it begins at a young age, when perceived notions regarding technology are ingrained in young girls' minds. One theory states that as children, boys are much more likely to play video games and engage with toys such as Lego's that require building and spatial attention. Karen Lemone of the University of British Columbia believes that if more girls were exposed and encouraged to such activities at a young age, they would be far more inclined to develop an interest in a field such as computer science7. Another widely-held belief is that there is a stigma attached to computers and technology that says they are boring and fit only for the exceptionally smart and nerdy. Perhaps it can also be attributed to a lack of role models. As the statistics included in this report show, women account for only a small percentage of technical positions. This means there are fewer women for girls to emulate and look to for inspiration. Another possible contributor to the low enrollment of women in tech is that many young girls lack the facts when it comes to computer science. From the interviews we conducted for this project, some women voiced frustration that no one told them that their mathematical prowess or to a greater extent, their general interests, were very much in line with that of a computer scientist. While they went on to study an unrelated subject in college and eventually chose a career path that led them to the tech industry, it could be inferred that they wish they were involved with technology at a much younger age. As Katherine Barr, a successful Silicon Valley VC who fits this profile told us: " I was at the top of my class in math and science through high school and I really didn't know what the different options were -- and it just seemed like getting a B.A. was the path that made the most sense at that time." 7 http://pages.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/~msh/papers/canadawomenincs.pdf © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 13
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Despite these many sobering statistics, new studies are suggesting that we are on the brink of a sea-change when it comes to the use of technology by females. A study published by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that among web users ages 12 to 17, significantly more girls than boys blog (35 percent compared with 20 percent, respectively)8. But perhaps even more encouraging is that girls eclipse boys when it comes to building or working on Web sites for other people and creating profiles on social networking sites (70 percent of girls aged 15 to 17 versus 57 percent of boys)9. This shows that young girls are doing more than just casually surfing the web. They are creating, designing, and interacting with technology in a new way, and at a higher rate than their male counterparts to boot. We will drill down deeper into the implications of this 'newer engagement' in Chapter 6. 8 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/21/fashion/21webgirls.html 9 Ibid. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 14
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Chapter 2: The Women of Silicon Valley in Context 1. Challenges & Choices In evaluating the academic and popular literature on the topic of women in tech, it is impossible not to encounter the frames of work/life balance and career path obstacles collected under the 'glass ceiling/glass cliff' meme. Our approach to these well-worn tropes was to acknowledge their enduring relevancy in the workplace today but also examine the very individual ways successful women in the Silicon Valley have addressed these issues head-on. Their portraits provide an important counterpoint to stereotypical frameworks like the "glass ceiling". By focusing on these women and highlighting their personal histories and professional accomplishments, a more nuanced view emerges of what a "woman in tech" really means. We can thus better understand, through different career trajectories, the success or failure of women in tech. In this chapter we examine the careers of very powerful women at three of the largest tech giants in Silicon Valley, indeed the world: Yahoo!, Cisco, and Google. CAROL BARTZ – The New YAHOO CEO © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 15
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley From 3M to 3F Two weeks after Yahoo hired Carol Bartz as its CEO, the embattled company recorded a net loss of $303.4 million compared with net income of $205.7 a year earlier. Bartz inherited a company clearly in need of a complete overhaul, a major reorganization, and new strategic plans. While one way to view the scenario is that of the "glass cliff", it is difficult to imagine Bartz worrying about falling off the cliff. Bartz, 60-years-old, grew up living on a farm in Wisconsin and was raised by her grandmother when her mother died. She was the homecoming queen in high school. She worked her way through college as a cocktail waitress and received an honors degree in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin in 1971.1 Today she is married with 3 children and still manages to find time to golf and garden. Her first job after college was at 3M, one of America’s blue-chip companies at the time. When Bartz requested to be transferred to 3M headquarters in the 1970s she was told that “Women don’t do these jobs.”2 From 3M, she went on to work for Digital Equipment Corporation and Sun Microsystems. Her move to the computer industry eventually brought her to Autodesk. She worked at Sun Microsystems for nine years before starting her stint at Autodesk. While at Autodesk, she actively promoted a culture that ran counter to a fear of failure so prevalent in many established organizations. And even more poignant for women The slogan for it was 3Fs, which stands for Fail-Forward-Fast. With risk-taking as a crucial dimension of innovation, the 3Fs was meant to establish a culture of tolerance within Autodesk that viewed failure as not only acceptable but also desirable, as long as the experience yielded lessons and therefore results. Hurricane Carol Her tenure as the CEO of Autodesk from 1992-2006 was widely regarded as a successful one. Sentiments like this one documented by Forbes were common, "Since 1992, Bartz, 56, has transformed Autodesk from an aimless maker of PC software into a leader of computer-aided design software, targeting architects and builders." Bartz was able to increase Autodesk's annual revenue from $285 million to $2.2 billion. Autodesk's stock price rose by an annual average of almost 20%. She accomplished this even though she was diagnosed with breast cancer soon after taking on the role of CEO at Autodesk. After surgery, she came back to work full-time in a month and continued to have chemotherapy for several months after that. She conquered cancer and presided over Autodesks "astonishing growth."3 © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 16
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Her steely determination will definitely be an advantage as she steers Yahoo through this turning point in the company's history which some have described as "huge" and "floundering"4. A commanding presence, Bartz's first few months at Yahoo have been a whirlwind of activities and meetings. As Kara Swisher, a journalist who covers Yahoo, wrote "Bartz has let loose with a lot of questions. 'She is asking the right ones, although the tone is much more tough than employees are used to,' said one Yahoo exec."5 She will no doubt leave an impact on Yahoo, judging by the nickname admiring employees have given her – "Hurricane Carol."6 The challenges in Bartz's life have, in a way, catapulted her career. Indeed, Yahoo's board could not ignore that "Bartz has been tested in life as few people in Silicon Valley have. Her trials have turned her into a hardened, disciplined, occasionally ruthless, but often inspiring boss— exactly the sort of leader, it could be argued, that Yahoo! now desperately needs."7 © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 17
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Padmasree Warrior – CTO at CISCO SYSTEMS http://www.flickr.com/photos/ciscolive/2612705045/ Woman Warrior From Fortune Magazine to the Economic Times to Working Woman Magazine, Padmasree Warrior has garnered much recognition for her work at Motorola and now at Cisco Systems. In 2004 she was honored with the National Medal of Technology by President George W. Bush.8 In 2009, the 47-year-old Warrior was also under consideration for the President Obama's new administration post of CTO for the country. Warrior received her bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi and her master's degree, also in chemical engineering, from Cornell University. Warrior's first job involved wafer process development in one Motorola's semiconductor factories in Arizona. In an interview, she acknowledged how challenging it was in hindsight: I was hired as a recent graduate to develop a new reactive ion etch process for dielectrics. At that time, my project had to be done in a large manufacturing fab due to short lead times to meet the market window. It was a tremendous challenge because it was my first exposure to the industry, I was the new kid on the block (the only female engineer in the entire factory) and I was under the gun to get the © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 18
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley process ramped into manufacturing. I learned a lot on my first job both technically and socially, having to overcome gender and culture barriers. I formed many deep friendships which continue to this day. I would say my first job was the toughest but also the most rewarding.9 Warrior spent 23 years at Motorola progressing from many positions and culminating with her appointment as CTO in 2003 and Executive Vice President in 2005.10 While in these positions at Motorola, Warrior oversaw a research and development budget of $3.7 billion and a staff of 25,000 engineers worldwide.11 Long commutes in Silicon Valley are fairly common, making life a difficult balancing act, especially for working mothers who also want to devote a significant amount of time for both their personal and professional lives. Warrior's commute is a long one, even by Silicon Valley standards.12 She commutes on a weekly basis to Silicon Valley from her home in Chicago, where her former employer, Motorola is headquartered. However, the sacrifice of being away from her husband and son might be offset by the huge opportunity Cisco represents. While many companies are floundering, Cisco seems poised to weather the current economic downturn with nearly $30 billion in the bank. Warrior was attracted to Cisco's entreprenurial and open-minded culture where it has integrated many of its past acquisitions. Though Warrior's role as CTO at Cisco is defined broadly, her focus is very customer- centric. I spend a lot of my time with customers understanding what their future needs are going to be, where they see the future heading, sharing with them our view of the future, how things are going to transition and then translating that back into what our strategy should be. The other thing I do is taking the message of Cisco's innovation and our strategy to various stakeholders beyond customers — like industry analysts, financial analysts and the media. The second area of focus is to really drive technology-driven market transitions, and Cisco's strategies around that, such as cloud computing.13 In her role as Chief Technology Officer for Cisco Systems, Padmasree Warrior is responsible for not only technological strategy and innovation, but also Cisco's new business models. Outside of work her responsibilities also encompass being a role model and giving back to the community. She has received many accolades as a role model of a successful woman in the technology field and has translated this recognition to her commitments to many organizations including Chicago's Joffrey Ballet, the National Science Foundation, and Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.14 In an interview, Warrior was asked "What lessons have you learned that would be valuable to women beginning their careers in technology?" Be an expert in your field, know your stuff! Develop a clear, concise and distinctive communication style. Surround yourself with giants - don't be intimidated by brilliance from others, leverage it. Lead with femininity and grace - you don't have to be "one of the boys" to be recognized as a strong leader. Be © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 19
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley professional and always treat people with respect. Be well organized in how you deliver and be thorough in what you do. Take charge of your career. Don't wait for the perfect opportunity to land in your lap-- search for it with passion and daring. A lesson I learned from Bob Galvin is "Leadership is the ability to take people elsewhere. Lead with humility. Humility does not mean that one thinks less of oneself, it means that one thinks of oneself less". This is a nugget I will always carry with me.15 © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 20
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Marissa Mayer – Vice-President at Google http://www.flickr.com/photos/burda/370657328/ Mayer May I? Famously known as the first female engineer at Google and Google Employee #20, Marissa Mayer, the 34-year-old, Vice-President of Search Products and User Experience, oversees the product development process. Mayer received her B.S. in Symbolic Systems and her M.S. in Computer Science at Stanford University, specializing in Artificial Intelligence. Many patents have been filed under her name for work in artificial intelligence and interface design. Before joining Google, Mayer also worked the UBS research lab (Ubilab) in Zurich, Switzerland and at SRI International in Menlo Park, California. In addition to her full-time work at Google, Mayer has also managed to squeeze in teaching gigs at Stanford. Over the years, she has over 3,000 students in her introductory computer programming classes and was recognized her educational contributions with the Stanford Centennial Teaching Award and the Forsythe Award. Geek Chic © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 21
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley In her tenure at Google, Mayer has introduced over 100 products and features, including Google News, Image Search, and GMail. In all these achievements, both her engineering chops and design sensibility are in clear view. Indeed, it was both her ability to code and understand the importance of design that allowed her to deliver effective and compelling user interfaces, which in turn made her standout from the rest of the engineers during the early days of Google. Her own formative memories stem from a home in Wausau, Wisconsin decorated with Scandinavian Marimekko prints, known for their deliberate use of bright color on white backgrounds. A recent New York Times profile of Mayer noted that her current San Francisco penthouse is a modernized version of her childhood home.16 The authors also did not fail to notice it's striking similarity elsewhere: "Google’s home page — spartan white embroidered with splashes of blue, red, yellow and green — mirrors her Wausau home and her penthouse." In Mayer's case, "the glass ceiling" is one of her own making. As the gatekeeper of all things design and user interface-related, Mayer protects the spartan look of Google. And clearly her personal tastes have an influence. “It used to be people would come over to my apartment and say, ‘Does your apartment look like Google or does Google look like your apartment? . . .I can’t articulate it anymore. I really love color. I’m not very knick-knacky or cluttery. My place has very clean, simple lines. There are some elements of fun and whimsy. That has always appealed to me.”17 Though at first glance, Mayer's input could easily be dismissed as frivolous, it is pivotal and deeply engineering, quantitative and test- driven.18 Little at Google, from design decisions around colors to text, reaches the general public without her approval. In March 2009, complaint's about the iron grip of Mayer's engineering, data-driven background have come to light in a more public arena, dubbing it a "glass ceiling."19 One visual design lead who left Google recently complained of the meticulous testing under Mayer's watch: Yes, it’s true that a team at Google couldn’t decide between two blues, so they’re testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one performs better. I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case.20 In her own personal life, Mayer is equally obsessive. One of her nicknames is Cupcake Princess. In her drive to make the best cupcake, she culled through numerous cookbooks, created a spreadsheet of ingredients, tested each recipe, and then made her own version. Apparently, she did the same for the frosting.21 Her other obsessions include entertaining, baking, fashion, and art. Always one to maximize efficiency Mayers remarked “My hobbies actually make me better at work. They help me come up with new and innovative ways of looking at things.”22 © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 22
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Glass Ceiling As this report has documented, the underrepresentation of women in the STEM fields both in education and in professional careers are well- known. The dearth of women in technology & science must also be understood within the context of the glass ceiling phenomenon. According to Wikipedia, the first use of the term "glass ceiling" is often cited as March 24, 1986 in a Wall Street Journal article by Carol Hymowitz and Timothy Shcellhardt examining the career evolution of women and the invisible barriers that impede their advancement in the American workforce. In fact, there were two earlier uses of the term: in a March 1984 article in Adweek by Gay Briant and at Hewlett-Packard in 1979 by Katherine Lawrence and Marianne Schreiber "to describe how while on the surface there seemed to be a clear path of promotion, but, in actuality, women seemed to hit a point where they seemed unable to progress beyond." Years later, Carly Fiorina became first woman to be CEO of a Fortune 50 company. Upon taking the realms of Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina declared that "the glass ceiling doesn't exist." In hindsight, after her very public battle with the board, Fiorina admitted in her memoir Tough Choices that it was a "dumb thing to say". Work/Life Balance In the workplace today, three generations of women are converging. No longer is it enough to accommodate Women (with a capital W) to address the needs for this particular segment of the workforce. Companies need to understand the complex culture in which they operate. Managing a diverse workforce now also includes addressing women at different lifestages. As the previous profiles have shown, the issue of having children at college, children at home, or having no children impacts how women work. And increasingly their personal lives have become intertwined with work especially with the advent of social media. That said, as the personal impacts the professional, and vice versa, women (including those profiled earlier), find ways to further careers and maintain their personal lives as well. As in the case of Mayer, who believes that her personal hobbies actually make her more effective at work. While we have presented profiles of highly successful women in Silicon Valley, research shows that in order to increase the numbers of women working in STEM-related fields, the issues they face at the mid-point of their careers must be resolved. Recent studies have shown that women are most vulnerable to work-family issues at the mid-level of the career © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 23
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley curve. "For many women, building a career, partnering, and raising a family are not simultaneous life events."23 The mid-level stage of women who work in the technology sector also coincides with the time when the greatest proportion of them would be considering having children. Highlighting the gendered realities of work, a 2008 report from Stanford University and The Anita Borg Institute found that, amongst mid-level technical workers, women delayed having children at the rate almost double that of their male counterparts and have foregone having children at an even higher rate of almost triple that of men.24 www.stanford.edu/group/gender/ResearchPrograms/TopTech/Climbing_the_Technical_Ladder.pdf These decisions are not surprising given the household characteristics working women have to contend with. Partnered mid-level women are over twice as likely as partnered mid-level men to have a spouse who works full-time (79.3% versus 37.9%). Mid-level men, by contrast, are more likely than women to have a partner who either works part time or who is not employed. 25 These statistics convey the pressures women feel regarding societal and work expectations. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 24
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Ibid According to Bartz, these pressures often manifest themselves in the form of useless guilt. In fact, she has said on numerous occasions that work/life balance is "myth" and is counterproductive. In an interview with More magazine, Bartz said condemned the "myth of the balanced life . . . Women put all this crap on themselves," she says. "They think, 'I'm going to cook a great breakfast, wash up the dishes before I leave, take the kids to school, call my college roommate on my way in to work, be a CEO all day, volunteer on the way home, do a little exercising, cook a wonderful dinner, help with homework, have sex.'" Bartz pauses, grins widely and shakes her hair. "I don't think so."26 Believing that daily balance is an impossible thing to achieve, she advocates a more long- term view and proposes that women focus on doing one thing at a time and doing it well, instead of trying to juggle too many things at once. While commuting between her home in Dallas and Sun Microsystems headquarters in California when her daughter, Layne, was an infant, Bartz spent four days at work fully-focused on her career and three days a week devoted herself to her family.27 . During her time at Autodesk, Bartz tried to build a more supportive culture for busy people in general and created a more family-friendly atmosphere, including shutting the company down for one week every winter. To this day, Bartz's legacy is evident. Autodesk is regarded as a good place to work with flexible schedules and telecommuting options for workers. The constraints that women in tech feel, be it butting up against the glass ceiling or delicately balancing work and family, are challenges that women might feel disproportionately. However, the creative solutions, © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 25
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley such as job sharing or flex time, that women and companies like Autodesk have developed benefit everyone in the company. By addressing the needs of its workforce, companies make their employer brand that much more appealing to a broad spectrum of potential employees and not just women. And this goes a long way in addressing the problem of monoculture that often stymies innovation. Meeting the needs of women inevitably promotes diversity in the workforce which in turn leads to a more viable and sustainable enterprise.28 Yet the need for change cuts both ways, not just to the employer. In one of the more troubling findings of the Orange Labs research, we found signs that the monoculture of male engineering – both technical and financial – had to some extent been internalized. As author and business reporter Sarah Lacy explains it: " I think women much more feel like they're a fraud and undercount their own abilities than men do."10 As Kaliya Hamlin notes in our video: "Women believe they are performing here (low), and they are actually performing here (high). " Patent Diversity A Forbes magazine article noted "If you want to create a really useful invention, make sure you have both women and men on your development team."29 Based on a study conducted by the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), the magazine explained that gender diversity was of great consequence to the success of companies if one criteria used was "measured by the number of subsequent patents that cite a patent."30 When compared with single- gendered teams, mixed-gendered teams received up to 42% more citations.31 The NCWIT study attributes this difference to "functional-diversity" which has to do with the approach people have to problems. This approach is largely governed by life experiences. The higher the diversity within a team, the higher and richer the functional diveristy . "Less diverse teams use similar problem-solving methods, missing solutions that diverse teams discover."32 That said, while the numbers of women's names on information technology patents have been increasing over the years, as the chart below indicates, they still remain a small minority on the number of patents filed. 10 From video. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 26
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley http://www.forbes.com/2007/09/13/women-patents-study-tech-science- cz_cm_0913techwomen.html Companies can make a significant impact in increasing the number of women filing patents. In addition to developing more gender-balanced teams, NCWIT recommends educating employees about the benefits of diversity and demystifying the patent process. They also suggest incorporating innovation information and patenting education into mentoring programs. 33 Today, companies are beginning to realize that the case for gender diversity can also be extended from the engineering floor to the boardroom and that the effects of diversity could also be beneficial to the decision-making process at the management level. Padmasree Warrior's company Cisco, which only has 16% of its employees as women, has established an aggressive initiative called the Executive Talent Insertion Program to add a dozen senior women executives to its management within an 18-month period.34 As companies strive to close the gender gap amongst its employee ranks, women of three generations -- the Boomers, GenX, and GenY -- will inevitably cross paths, sharing and leveraging their experiences in the workplace, on the factory floor, in the boardroom, at networking events and across new social media platforms built by a succeeding generation of younger women. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 27
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Chapter 3: The New Network Silicon Valley is famous for its endless and always-on networking activity, yet the the male-female ratio remains incredibly low. As an area famous for its "think different" mentality, it is not really surprising that more than a few individuals have decided to change this alarming ratio. Networking events specifically targeting women have recently become more popular. The goal of these events is clear: women are being encouraged to break the stereotype of the geek with thick glasses and a pocket protector. In Silicon Valley as well as elsewhere, several organizations are trying to promote women in technology, encourage them to join the world of entrepreneurship and provide a support network to build the confidence needed to maintain a long tech career. This chapter discusses offline and online networking activities and events, much of them occurring within the past 36 months. Girls in Tech aims to bring more women into the tech industry through women-only networking, roundtables, conferences, Adriana Gascoigne, founder of Girls in Tech entrepreneurial workshops, and recruiting events. By providing comfortable venues for exchange and engagement, Girls in Tech hopes to generate ideas about successful career practices and business concepts related to technology. "When women get together we can connect on a deeper level than if men are around," says Adriana Gascoigne, founder of Girls in Tech. "It helps to build confidence and it helps to create stronger relationships." A lot of women in tech tend to try to blend in, they dress in a similar manner to the men, and they behave in a similar way but this is a mistake she says. “It is important to embrace femininity, to embrace girliness,” says Adriana. “Too many women think they need to be more like men to succeed. You don’t.” She's Geeky is an (un)-conference also targeting the female tech market. With 5 instances since the 1st event in October 2007, She's geeky gathers the diverse range of women who identify as "geeky" with the opportunity to spend time together and learn from one another. "When we called the first conference in the summer of 2007, there was a lot of conversation about the role of women in the industry and the Wall Agenda at the She's geeky conference in Mountain View - January 09 © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 28
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley lack of acknowledgment and paths for advancement, particularly outside the formal corporate sector in Web 2.0 and Open Source. We wanted to create a safe (women only) space to talk about the issues, strategize around cultural change and, if needed, find personal support," noted organizer Kaliya Hamlin. She's Geeky is built on the "un-conference" format: open to everybody and without a formal agenda but rather a wall agenda with ad hoc sessions. Participants become the speaker, moderator or facilitator of a session by posting a description of the topic they want to address. Sessions titled "Getting more women involved in the Mozilla and Open Source community", "How to ask for help without sounding desperate" or "Women: Leadership, Role Models, Mentors" took place at the She's geeky conference in the Bay Area in January 09 She's Geeky take a more general approach and celebrates any woman interested in technology: developer, designer, user experience expert or architect. Other initiatives take a more specific approach. Judging panel ready to hear the pitches from the five finalists of the Women 2.0 co- founded by 2 2008 Women 2.0 Business Plan Competition on Stanford Campus Shaherose Charania in April 2006 is committed to increasing the number of women entrepreneurs by providing the resources, network, and knowledge for the launch and growth of their company. They put together networking events and conferences throughout the year like Jumpstart your startup workshop series helping women bringing their business idea to reality. They are trying to be a catalyst for change, mobilizing a global community of ambitious women entrepreneurs seeking to advance the world through technology. The third-annual Women 2.0 Pitch 2009: Startup Competition was open to applications from early-stage ventures around the world, subject to the two conditions that: 1) companies must be in beta-stage and have not received significant funding and 2) Teams must have at least ONE FEMALE in the founding team. The attempts to bring more women in technology are not completely new. Anita Borg was part of a relatively small group of female computer scientists at the Ph.D. level in 1981. She is one of the first women to create a network of support for women in technology: Systers online community in 1987, well before the concept of an online community was a part of the mainstream. In 1994, she also co-founded the Grace Hopper Anita Borg © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 29
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Celebration of Women in Computing, inspired by the legacy of Navy Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper previously mentioned. In 1997 she founded the Institute for Women and Technology which encompassed her earlier endeavors and began new programs, partnerships, and initiatives to include women in all aspects of technology. The Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) is still alive today and keeps inspiring thousands of girls to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. The GHC Conference is the world’s largest gathering of technical women in computing. Over the last decade and eight GHC Conferences more than 7400 women have attended and nearly 1300 scholarships have been awarded to students. Presented with Association on Computing Machinery (ACM) the GHC Conferences offer opportunities for mentoring, motivation, networking, Flyer of the upcoming 2009 Grace Hopper technical and career development11. Celebration The BlogHer Business Is Coverage of the Online Glass Conference is an annual conference on best practices for Ceiling Just Reinforcing It? reaching women online in the media world. It basically tries to help female bloggers get exposure. The next BlogHer '09 conference will take place in Chicago July 23rd, Topics announced in the agenda include "Identity and Passions", "the Business of You", "Politics and Activism", "MommyBlogging" and "Geek Lab – the Tech Track." "One of the number one reasons we all attend BlogHer every year, whether coming for the first time or as an old-timer, is to meet our online community "in real life". So after five years we think it's a great time to celebrate the fact that our blogging, whether personal, professional or political, has brought us real work, real friends, real satisfaction and is most definitely a significant part of our real life!" says one of the organizers. Lesson #1: Avoid Extra Pink Media coverage of the BlogHer conference has not always been positive, garnering negative remarks even from women reporters. After The 2009 Grace Hopper Celebration will be held September 30 - 11 October 3 in Tucson, Arizona. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 30
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley the BlogHer 08 last July critical pieces like this were published: "But in the tortured circular hell of who's to blame for gendered imparity, it's only fair to point out that the Netroots [political event held the same day] convention probably didn't have the "You are perfect" notes hanging on the stalls. It's crap like this that gives the extra-pink tint to the already gendered lens through which the media sees conferences like BlogHer," wrote Rebecca Traister in Salon.com. In addition, the New York Times coverage (by a woman) of the event was highly criticized by female bloggers because of its focus on specific details like the bathroom setup, the lactation room, child care. It also triggered articles like "Is Coverage of the Online Glass Ceiling Just Reinforcing It?" in the FishBowlNY blog Some women are very attached to the idea of a meritocracy, and reject the issue of gender as an important factor in their success. They think that focusing on the female gender of the entrepreneur is not only distracting but sometimes actually counterproductive. "The people who fuel that "conversation" are nothing but well-intentioned, I'm sure. But far more often than not, their good intentions get turned around, twisted, and come out all wrong. I think most mean to ask themselves deep questions such as, "Why is our industry dysfunctional?," "Why does my life kinda suck?" but end up, with something smaller, something that few would challenge: Where are all the women?" says Amy Hoy in the "Women and Technology" section of the O'Reilly blog. This fear of the "extra pink tint" is to be kept in mind while organizing events aiming at supporting women. Fortunately, recent initiatives managed to avoid the pink trap like the Lovelace Day. Because of the many publishing platforms now available and wide distribution, leveraging social media tools could be one of the best way to inform about women achievements, increase awareness about existing stories, trigger passions and foster entrepreneurship among the female market. Recent studies show that 55% of users on Facebook are women. They tend to be more active in gathering and posting pictures, keeping in touch with acquaintances and classmates, sharing their daily life with friends and family. As mentioned by Clara Shih, author of The Facebook Era, the "effort" to keep in touch with friend has been minimized by social networks like Facebook, making it easy to "keep in touch" with as many people as possible. "Such behavior has a high potential of serendipity. Your classmate in 10th grade could become an HR executive at a company you may apply to. You never know what will happen," asserted Clara Shih in an interview with Orange Labs San Francisco Lesson #2: Leverage Social Media The most recent initiative that took advantage of these strong ties to promote and celebrate as many women in tech as possible is the Ada © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 31
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Lovelace Day: an international day of blogging to raise the profile of women working in technology. 1980 people signed a pledge and agreed to write a blog post or otherwise talk about a woman in technology that they admire on Tuesday 24 March 2009. Suw Charman-Anderson, organizer of the day managed to create a giant buzz using the currently most popular social media tools available: Facebook and Twitter. There are currently some 1197 Chat with Suw Charman-Anderson, the Creator of Ada posts listed in the mash-up, Lovelace Day although that list is not Why did you create the Lovelace Day? complete as many people did I thought that such an initiative was needed because I realized that many not add their post. Even Tim people, including myself, had problems naming female role models. I saw some research that showed women in female role models more than O'Reilly spread the word by men need male role models, and felt that it was a relatively easy thing to do, to writing a piece titled "It's create new role models. All we need to is talk about the women we admire and always Ada Lovelace Day at learn about the women excelling in technology. O'Reilly" on his blog. What has been the reaction so far? More Ada Lovelace Day posts Incredibly positive. The day itself was a great success with lots of buzz on can currently be found here, Twitter, and blog URLs flooding in through Facebook, Twitter and the pledge comments. It was covered by many major news sites here, including The here and here. Guardian, The Telegraph and even the freesheet, Metro. Computer Weekly also did a section on it, and the British Science Museum supported the day too. Finally, I did interviews on BBC Radio Five and the BBC News Channel (tv news). What benefit do you expect from such a buzz around women in tech? At the very least, we have raised the profile of many heroines of computing and technology, not just Ada herself, and not just historical figures. I hope that, with all this mainstream media coverage, that we have made a dent in the misconception that anyone interested in technology must be a teenaged boy with bad skin. Hopefully more women realise that not only is it possible for them to progress in their careers, but also that there are many other women, just like them, who are working in this very male-dominated industry and being successful at it. Do you think Corporate Companies could have an impact on the current situation? How? They could have a huge impact, particularly around the issue of maternity leave, career breaks and remote working. Technology changes rapidly, and women who have taken even just a few months off to have a family can easily lose confidence because they feel that they are no longer up to date. The problem is even worse for women who've taken a few years out, and who feel totally at sea because the landscape has shifted beneath their feet. Businesses could help to re-skill women and ease them back into the workplace, and whilst I'm sure some do, I'm also sure that not enough companies think about how they can support women with training through the maternity period. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 32
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Ada Lovelace Day page in Facebook Mentoring, be it one-on-one or in the networked mode of Silicon Valley, is still one of the most powerful ways to compel young girls and women to consider careers in technology. Female role models are needed in the tech industry, it makes it easier for girls to identify themselves to women, understand their success and day to day life. What has changed are the tools and means for inspiring girls. "Doing postings on Facebook, Twitter about it or video on YouTube that is accessible to everybody. That s the best thing you can do with social media to create role models and have access to information" concludes Shaherose in her interview with OLSF. Lesson #3: Thick Skin needed As Shaherose Charania points out in her interview with OLSF, they are not many successful innovative and successful women in the Tech media: "Growing up my role models were Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, there were not any women I could identify myself with." When Gina Bianchini did the cover page of FastCompany after the launch of Ning.com, wearing simple jeans and a white tank top, she received very critical responses from the mostly male tech audience. "She got destroyed on the blogosphere," remembers Sarah Lacy "it is almost like it made men nervous to see a beautiful woman make it. You need to have a very thick skin to handle being criticized everyday," Lacy notes. Gina Bianchini on the cover of Fast Company © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 33
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Chapter 4: What About The Media? In this section of the report, we turn our observations on the observers, and ask the following questions about the media that covers Silicon Valley and tech culture more generally: - Is there a bias within Science and Tech reporting among the trade and general press to quote and report on men? - Are there certain major themes in the trade and business press that highlight the achievements of men, or understate or stereotype women? Conversely, when women in tech are featured, are there stereotypical themes? - How are male enclaves within the Silicon valley culture perpetuating stereotypes of innovation through interlocking relationships, that in turn generate role models valorized by media which continue to ignore the contributions by women? These are just a few of the questions that should be, and rarely are, asked about media representations of women who work in tech. Within our ongoing coverage of the literature and our initial quantitative content analysis probes, there are clear preliminary findings for all of the above. Bias in Media Science Reporting The literature on media bias is of course voluminous, the specific topic of media bias in reporting on women in technology is less so. Recent studies from the UK12 have: focused on how newspapers represent male and female scientists, as well as how press officers associated with science organizations mediate representatives of their organizations to the press along gender lines13. With respect to the working press on both sides of the fence (reporters and press relations, PR), we can anticipate the same phenomenon American researchers (Kolb and McGinn) observed, namely that "gender practices seem unbiased in isolation, but they reflect masculine values and the life situations of men who have dominated in the public domain of work."14 As we will see in other quarters of the hi-tech milieu, such as Venture Capital, this dynamic holds true as well15. 12 Kitzenger, et al; Cardiff School of Journalism 13 Boyce and Kitzenger, Cardiff School of Journalism. 14 Kolb and McGinn, Harvard Business School, 2008. 15 Indeed, we find multiple examples of the phenomenon of (mostly men) responding to suggestions of bias by accusing the suggestor of 'sexism', see for example reactions to a post by Wall Street Journal reporter Kara Swisher about Facebook's all-male board http://kara.allthingsd.com/20070816/the-men-and-no-women-facebook- © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 34
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley For example, Kitzenger et al performed a content analysis of 1,503 articles about science topics – 84% of experts cited in these articles were men. For the area of particular interest for the Orange Labs researchers, which was computers, the number are much worse – 93% of the quotes were from men, the worst out of five science-related categories. Tech Themes and Stereotyping In our own research into media bias within tech and business press, we focused on trade publications for the ICT industry, focusing on US publications16. Several types of stories were considered: - 'Top' Lists This is a favorite genre among business press, for this context we were interested in issues focusing on "Top CIO's" and such related topics such as top VCs. - CIO Coverage As we will discuss below, there is a strong symbiotic relationship betweemn the business press, tech vendors, and cultivating the image and position of the CIO (Chief Information Officer) – by elevating the status of tech procurement within the enterprise press generates increased advertising revenue by delivering this audience to vendors. How the CIO position is reported on is relevant when considering bias effects. - Covers An obvious place to look for bias in reportage is on the cover of the magazine itself. With respect to the Top Lists question, we looked at to different lists, both from CIO magazine17 which caters specifically to this executive audience and vendors trying to sell to them, as well as a larger list of 500 CIOs from Informationweek18 . In both cases, the magazines' results were identical – 15% of both lists were women's names, 85% of both 'Top' lists were men. We would argue this is a 'best-case' result – that any editorial staff (and sales execs looking over their shoulder) would be conscious of the fact that diversity is always desirable in such an exercise, and so we treat as reasonable the conjecture that an attempt was made to be inclusive. of-facebook-management/. (scroll down to comments fields) 16 Specifically: ComputerWeek, InformationWeek, CIO magazine 17 Top CIOs, May 17, 2007 18 Top 500 CIOs, InformationWeek, September 15, 2008 © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 35
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley That is not the case with the monthly or weekly deadline and everyday stream of events however. So we looked at two indices to see how stereotyping occurs outside of the curated list context. The first was cover art, we looked at a sampling of magazine covers that specifically featured a partial or full-length portrait of a human on the issue cover (photograph or line art was accepted). Out of a total sample of 24 issues featuring humans, 88% of covers featured male CIOs or other tech leaders. The second indice we used was a high-level content analysis focused on topic/gender stereotyping. In general, when men were featured on the covers of issues, the stories they were illustrating tended to be about management of technology or people, or more advanced technology evolution. In the instances when a woman was featured (1 out of 3 times in the case of InformationWeek) the topic being illustrated was a stereotype reinforcement, such as a story about diversity, or managing vendors. Indeed, when we turn to venture capital – an essential cog in the Silicon Valley innovation machine – the gender stereotyping of reportage is very visible as well. If one Googles the search string "women in venture capital" the US portal will return around 3,000 citations. A similar stereotyped string for 'men in venture capital' returns under 1019. The most egregious example was a "Tomorrow's CIO" issue which featured a roundup of opinion by CIO's about the future challenges for their peers: a total of 14 CIO's were quoted in the article, out of 14 quotes, 1 was from a woman (7%). Are there female CIO's? Of course there are. Are they as numerous as men? Of course not. As the related research cited in the opening chapter on women representation in the executive suite showed, the 'cult of the CIO' at best can open up it's ranks to women for about 15% of its membership. The press lags behind the reality, relegating its scanty coverage of female executives to 'women's issues' or just simply ignoring them when it comes time to ask about "challenges". The Cult of the Venture Capitalist: Doerr's Syndrome In the current downturn, the luster of venture capital even here in Silicon Valley has faded – the once-predictable exit of enriching investors via an IPO20 has disappeared along with the emperor's clothes – as of this writing there has not been a single IPO in the past two quarters. That said, the monoculture of Venture Capital both nationally and in the Valley is breathtaking. According to a 2008 study from the National Venture Capital Association, an examination of the general partners of its 19 As of June, 2009. 20 Initial Public offering © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 36
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley member firms reveals the fact that 88% of the general partners are white, 86% are male. Not surprisingly, given this monoculture, the downstream effects are predictable – even though at times they have been wildly successful. As one of the most famous VC's in Silicon Valley, John Doerr, remarked about his business model, "we look for nerds that have dropped out of Harvard or Stanford." As a result, what we can call Doerr's Syndrome has led to a monoculture within startup ecosystems: according to VentureOne, the VC community of white males has entrusted only 3% of VC money with women-led companies. According to the same 2006 analysis, only 4% of VC-backed companies have women as CEOs. In what we could call the White Male Coefficient, this same number of 4% applies to the percentage of women represented on Forbes magazine's "Midas List" of 100 most successful VCs for 2007. A balanced view of this situation must take into account the 'pipeline' problem – women at the helm of startups seeking funding are hard to find, therefore seeing them get funded is going to be difficult as well. As Sara Lacy notes in our video: " Because that's what a lot of VCs say if you ask them why they don't fund more women entrepreneurs, they say 'we don't see them…less of them come in an pitch us.'" Indeed, a notable exception that proves the rule is Tim Draper, the legendary VC and co-founder of Draper, Fisher, Jurvetson, who is famous for performing a strip tease based on the number of women-entrepreneur- led companies his firm has funded21. 21 The number is six. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 37
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Chapter 5: Three Generations of Women and the Net Despite the persistent under-representation of women in STEM fields (Science, Technology,Engineering, & Mathematics), one can find three generations of women converging in the workplace today: Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y. Baby Boomers represent Americans who were born between 1946 – 1964. Marked by the birth boom after World War II, most of the boomers grew up during the counterculture of the 1960s. Close to 80 million strong, Baby Boomers constitute the largest segment of the American population. Gen X, relative to the Baby Boomers, is a much smaller but highly educated group. Gen X were born to Baby Boomers during 1965- 1976. They also represent a very diverse group in which Hispanics, African American, Asians and other minorities constitute 38% of this particular demographic.35 Gen Y were born between 1977 – 1995 and include a particular cohort often referred to as Millenials who were born between 1980 – 1995. Gen Z are the youngest generation and include those born after 1995 and include many of the teenagers today. In understanding the contribution of the three generations of women in Silicon Valley, we suggest contextualizing these contributions with respect to the Internet as a useful and productive lens. First, we look at the broad spectrum of use by each generation. Here find that basically, the Boomers that invented the basic technical bricks behind today's Internet focus on core utilities such as email. The GenX women of Silicon Valley who co-created the World Wide Web and connected it to the world we all live, work, shop and recreate in, use Internet e-commerce and entertainment applications. The GenY women of Silicon Valley can be seen everywhere on the new forms of social media, which they use to amplify their voice and collectively build a new layer of public and transparent emotion on the top of preceding generations' contribution. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 38
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, email represents the most popular online activity, particularly amongst older internet users. On the other end of the spectrum, social networks, blogging, instant messaging, and now microblogging, in the form of services like Twitter, are gaining popularity as the default form of communication for many young people. While younger people dominate the web, with Gen Y and Gen X constituting more than half of the internet population, Baby Boomers are increasingly online and making their presence felt. However, there still exist notable areas of internet use that distinguish each generation.36 Baby Boomers look at the internet from a utilitarian point of view and not so much as an instrument for socializing or a medium for entertainment. They approach it more as a tool for emailing, making purchases or information searches. Not surprisingly, they use the internet to search for health information with greater frequency than younger generations like Gen Y& Z. Pew notes that online shopping is the main focus of Gen X, with 80% of them buying products via the internet. Younger people (teens), Younger Boomers, and Older Boomers practice much less online shopping, 38%, 56%, and 47% respectively. Gen X also leads in online banking (67%), with Gen Y not too far behind at 57%. In contrast to Baby Boomers, Gen Y and Gen Z flock to the internet for its social and entertainment value. With a plethora of entertainment options, teenagers and young adults find myriad ways to amuse themselves via online games, virtual worlds, and online videos and music. Internet users between 12-32 years-old read blogs, write their own blogs, and use social networking sites far more than older generations as the chart below indicates.37 While striking differences can still be found amongst the generations of internet users, one pattern is clearly emerging. More and more people are participating in social media. In a recent report, Forrester Research revealed a significant increase in the use of Social Technologies with 75% of internet adult users actively using them, compared to 56% a year earlier.38 For the most part, this incredible growth has been fueled by the participation of women of all ages. Amongst Social Media services, Facebook in particular has been growing exponentially. In August 2008, Facebook crossed the 100 million users mark. By January 2009, it reached 150 million. And more recently, expanding at the rate of "nearly half a million users per day, every day, since late August" Facebook announced it passed the 200 million user mark in April 2009.39 © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 39
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley As of February 2009, women are the majority in every age group category on Facebook. And the segment of Women over 55 are growing at the fastest rate, up 175% during the period Sept08-Feb09.40 Overall, the Facebook audience is comprised of 56% women.41 The trend of women dominating social network applications has been well- documented. Perhaps the most high-profile service in the Social Media space at the moment is Twitter, a short-messaging system that allows users to broadcast messages less than 140 characters, "tweets," via their mobile phone or computer. Most Twitter users are female and young adults. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 40
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley http://www.pewinternet.org/Infographics/Generational-differences-in-online- activities.aspx © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 41
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Indeed, in a recent analysis conducted by Rapleaf of all major social networks in use today, the female-to-male ratio among users younger than 25 was at least 1.5:1 and for major networks Facebook and Bebo above 2:1. http://www.mininglabs.com/2008/08/05/digging-through-rapleaf%E2%80%99s-study-on- gender-and-age-in-social-networks/ The implications of a 'pink' future for a socially-inflected Web are at the heart of the study's findings. We proceed from here by contextualizing the evolution of the Internet via the lens of women's contributions. 3G(enerations) of Women and the Internet The convergence of three generations of women in the workplace in the technology field today must be contextualized within the evolution of the Worldwide Web itself. While we have earlier in this chapter discussed demographic differences in the use of the internet by generation, we can also examine how changes in the technological environment affected particular generations of women who work in the technology sector. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 42
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley Likewise, we can see how the contributions of of each generation of women in the Valley shaped the evolution of the Web. A clear parallel exists in the trajectory of the web and the women who work in the technology field. In it's early stages, the internet was about information and the retrieval of data. This, era of the Informational Web, witnessed the emergence of companies like Yahoo that focused on search in its early form. The paradigmatic representation of women in Silicon Valley who contributed to this phase is that of the Maker. The second stage of the internet, the Relational Web, was characterized by its focus on people. Early versions of social networks like Friendster, Match.com, & MySpace are representative of the drive to connect with others. The corresponding paradigm for women executives and founders in this stage of the Web (which encompasses the Dot.com bubble) is that of the Connector. Today, in its third stage, the Emotional Web is marked by a highly expressive state, where emotions, statuses, opinions, and experiences are amplified via their distribution and augmentation by social media tools. The paradigm for women and girls in tech here is that of the Amplifier. Generation of Makers Boomers like Sandra Lerner, Judy Estrin and Padmasree Warrior could be characterized as "Makers." Here we find women who used their engineering degrees to invent the basic building blocks that would lead to today's Web. Sandra Lerner was the co-founder, along with her then-boyfriend Len Bosack of the world's most well-known tech company, Cisco. After graduating from Stanford University with a Computer Science degree in 1981, Lerner went to work for the university as Director of Computer Services for the Business School. There, she and Bosack, along with students and future Sun founder Andy Bechtolstein, and William Yeager, the man who wrote the code for what is now the Cisco NOS (Network Operating System) built a 'blue box' that became the first network router. Lerner and Bosack founded a company and named it Cisco in 1984, and 1985 found them hand-assembling routers in their living room in Atherton. A key decision made by the couple was to focus on the then- emergent TCP/IP protocol, removing other protocols from the original Stanford blue blox. That decision would allow them to retire just three years later. The rest of the company's history would be about mass- production of the IP appliance that would become the infrastructure for today's Internet. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 43
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley The networking appliance and the new concept of the router became the basis for a hotly-contest market of networking startups, each addressing part of the ever-widening networking puzzle. Another networking startup, Bridge Communications, was founded by a computer hardware engineer, Judy Estrin, who came to the technology after a stint working at Zilog, one of the first computer chip manufacturers. Bridge was one of a number of firms consolidated in a wave of acqusitions, in this case by 3Com Corporation, the brainchild of Robert Metcalfe, widely credited as one of the inventors of the Ethernet protocol, now the lifeblood of IP- based networks. Estrin would go on to serve as CEO of 3Com, making her one of many examples of women engineers moving into CEO positions22 Today, Silicon Valley-trained women of the Boomer era manage some of the world's largest and complex technical organizations. Ann Livermore at HP Solutions, runs a $41 billion services organization for the company that epitomizes Silicon Valley. Janet Perna, who started at IBM's San Jose R&D Lab in 1981, now runs IBM Software's Database business, with 400,000 customers and 60 million users. Interestingly, both women have spent their entire professional career with their current employers. Generation of Connectors With women playing a fundamental role in the creationof the basic network for the Internet, it is fitting that the next generation (GenX) of women would be major players in connecting people with things, products, and each other over that network. The basis for the Connector generation of women in tech was in the introduction of the HTTP/HTML protocol developed by Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau at CERN, which created the hypertext model of linking pages. The creation of the Mosaic browser made information rendered in this way visible. The result was a burst of creative and economic activity, most of it venture-funded, that would lead to the Dot Com Bubble. The mantra of this boom-and-bust phenomenon was "network effects" – essentially the idea that traditional industries such as book-selling and travel would be dot-commed by online stores that would attract millions of buyers shopping from their armchair. In the 'free' model that accompanied this paradigm, advertisers would move to the Web to present messages to the millions of "eyeballs" there. This led to the other mantra of "scale fast" and "first-mover advantage". Excesses of the era followed from this "get-big fast" mentality, including interestingly, Boo.com, an online fashion venture that famously burned through $188 million in just 6 months. 22 Today, the most visible example may be Carol Bartz at Yahoo, who started as an engineer. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 44
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley But out of this excess came some enduring lessons and models. One was the idea that a compelling online user experience could create economic value. This focus on user experience would empower women who understood how to connect with users over the Web. Another enduring truth was that audiences (the 'eyeballs' of the Bubble) were also a source of online economic value creation. Furthermore, the collective activity of these audiences could be tapped to determine things like relevance – an insight put to enormous effect by Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page23. GenXers like Marissa Mayer, armed with a Computer Science degree from Stanford, and Gina Bianchini, with an MBA from Stanford University, were among the Connectors who leveraged these lessons. Mayer was the first female engineer and one of the first 20 employees at Google; Bianchini is the CEO of Ning, a platform for social networks. Along with other GenX Connectors, such as Caterina Fake, the co- founder of Flickr, these creative engineers understood that communities and audiences acted like networks – the lessons of the network effect were there for the taking, even if the wild swings of an overheated stock market weren't. GenXers as Connectors keenly understand the utility of social media and social networks to the consumers they deliver products to. Indeed, Mayer, as Vice-President of Search Products and User Experience, oversees the design and user interface for Orkut, Google's social network site and Bianchini, as CEO of Ning, enables hundreds of thousands of individuals to create their own social networks. Today: An Amplified Generation For GenYers, like Leah Culver who has a degree in computer science, their early careers are being shaped indelibly by the Emotional Web. Women GenY who work in the technology sector make things, like the Makers of the Boomer generation, and are steeped in social technologies, like the Connectors of GenX. Yet this particular GenY's trajectory starts with the amplified effects of the augmenting quality of the Emotional Web. The concept of sharing content over the Web is a function of social media, with the appearance of MySpace and its instant appeal to girls being a major wake-up call that out of the wreckage of the Bubble, the next major evolution of the Web was underway. The gift of creatives like Caterina Fake was the understanding of content as a "social object" that could be exhibited, put on display, and shared as a gesture of friendship and affinity. But, we hasten to add, largely managed by a woman, Sheryl Sandberg, 23 now the COO of Facebook. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 45
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley This paradigm brings design into center stage, and related tech media that depend on design, such as videogames benefit from this new focus on user experience. In the videogame marketplace, for example, women designers such as Jane McGonigal and Amy Jo Kim are in high demand for their insight into how to deliver engagement – the lifeblood of videogame companies. In a market thought (incorrectly) to be catering to acned teenage boys, key positions are held by women such as Lucy Bradshaw at Electronic Arts, Today, creative engineers such as Culver at Pownce, or Mena Trott, the co-founder of the massively popular blogging platform SixApart, are pushing the envelope of what social networks can do to amplify each member's status, contributions, and emotions. In this they are helped by a fast-growing wave of users on the Emotional Web, the strong majority of which are female. Tomorrow: From Content to Code The surge in women participating in content creation in the social media space is interesting not just for its cultural implications but also for what it means from a professional perspective, especially when considering young girls and women. The importance of social media to future technology careers for young women might very well provide more utility than traditional educational channels. Statistics from the Pew Internet & American Life project also support the idea that young girls use of social media just maybe the salvation from the maddening dearth of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Engagement in social media itself might very well be generative not just of crucial mentoring and support but also of the critical coding and programming skills young girls need to have in technical careers. Statistics show that communication in all its aspects are the domain of girls, from in-person communication to cell phone use to instant messaging. Girls also outpace boys in journal writing 49% to 20%.42 Driven by a desire to communicate, girls think of social media as simply new tools for broadcasting and publishing. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 46
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2008/Writing-Technology-and-Teens.aspx In the Social Media space, "girls dominate the teen blogosphere and social networks—66% of girls have an SNS profile compared with 50% of boys, and 34% of girls (versus 20% of boys) keep an online journal or blog."43 And the domination of girls in social media is represented across all ages in the youth segments. The Pew study found that: Older teen girls are still far more likely to blog when compared with older boys (38% vs. 18%), but younger girl bloggers have grown at such a fast clip that they are now outpacing even the older boys (32% of girls ages 12-14 blog vs. 18% of boys ages 15-17). Highly skilled in the art of weaving stories and fostering social connections, teenage girls have embraced the internet and transferred these skills to social media at a time when the technology itself is going through radical changes, allowing content to be treated programmatically, shared as objects, and providing endless opportunity for self-expression . In this peer-based learning model, the exciting convergence of the social web with open source development has enabled an entire generation – GenY – of girls helping girls to make the leap from content-creation to coding. © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 47
Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley A notable example of this is The Alice Project (Alice.org), founded by the late Carnegie Mellon Computer Science Professor, Randy Pausch. Alice is an open-source, educational, object-oriented programming environment that teaches young kids how to create animations and tell stories. Alice.org is collaborating with Silicon Valley companies like Sun Microsystems and Electronic Arts to deliver highly tailored educational software about programming to different age groups. For example, Storytelling Alice, was created to specifically focus on middle school children, and girls in particular, to motivate them to learn computer programming by creating short 3D animation movies. Focused on the crafting of stories, Storytelling Alice includes: 1.High-level animations that enable users to program social interactions between characters. 2.A story-based tutorial that introduces users to programming through building a story. 3.A gallery of 3D characters and scenery with custom animations designed to spark story ideas.44 Alice 2.0 shares the same goals and characteristics as Storytelling Alice but its 3D programming environment is age-appropriate for high school and college age youth. It also has a similar focus on girls. As girls increasingly utilize software like Alice and new open-source social media tools to express themselves, connect with friends, seek support, and discover content, will coding and programming become second nature to them? Judging by the narratives collected by Orange in Silicon Valley from leading women technologists, it seems truly inevitable that today's wave of networked girls will shift tomorrow's technology paradigms with their storytelling. The Emotional Web While the open and social characteristics of the evolving internet are creating pathways for girls and young women to gain more skills in © 2009 Orange Labs SF - 48
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