Breaking the Glass Ceiling: How Silicon Valley’s Women Strive to Have it All


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Natasha Kurtova French - EngagePoint - Breaking the Glass Ceiling: How Silicon Valley’s Women Strive to Have it All

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  • Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak in front of you tonight. As you heard from the introduction I am a marketing professional, not a specialist on women’s issues. I came from Moscow almost 25 years ago to Silicon Valley and as many foreign women had to work twice harder to adapt to American culture and succeed in corporate America, and as millions of other women I tried to have it all which is having a successful career and a happy, healthy family. I am not a feminist and I am like most of you go about my life without thinking too much about women’s problems. And only now because of this event and invitation to be a speaker today I actually took some time to do some research , talk to some women in Silicon Valley and reflect on my own success and failures as a professional woman, wife, mother, owner of business, volunteer in non-profit, friend and cook. I found some interesting facts that I will share with you this evening. How many believe that American women have better opportunities for success? Its an illusion. It looks like you can get there, but there is a ceiling above
  • Few would deny there was a gender revolution in the world of management in 1970s when women’s movement seemed poised to change the world; women were surging into the offices, stores, and factories. Popular book Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique. But what happened after 1970? The sociologists report that progress slowed in the 1990s and has all but stopped since 2000. For example, the percentage of female electrical engineers doubled in each decade in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. But in the two decades since 1990 it has increased by only a single percentage point, leaving women at just 10 percent of the total.The harsh today’s reality is that despite successes in women rights in 70s this march into the workplace has still not translated into power at the top. Women are working for major corporations but not leading them. Practicing medicine but rarely heading medical departments or hospitals. Running for political office but still not winning more than a token percentage of seats. The constant theme that I hear for women is that they get stuck having to prove themselves over and over again. They have to overachieve just to reach par with men That’s a block; they’re not going upInterestingly, women enter the work force with relatively better credentials than men, 59% of college-educated are women and yet you’re not seeing comparable progress as they move forward in their careers to the top of the ladder.HOW MANY OF MEN IN THE AUDIENCE WOK FOR WOMEN?
  • The truth is that in United States men continue to run most major institutions and make most of the important political, executive, policy and other decisions. According to one of the speakers at the conference for urban development, Deborah Spar…
  • Here are some data that might surprise you if you think that Such figures strongly contradict America’s self-image as a world leader with enlightened values.
  • In 2011, women accounted for 47 percent of the overall labor force in the United States , but the median wages of female managers across the educational level and ages are just 73 percent of what male managers earn.The pay disparity among men and women in Silicon Valley especially in old companies is still there. Doris Pickering, who worked in product management for HP for 12 years. "I've been paid less than the men in my same job all the time," she said. "We've been talking about this for 30 years, and I'm sick of it.“Some fields have become even more gender-segregated. In 1980, 75 percent of primary school teachers and 64 percent of social workers were women. Today women make up 80 and 81 percent of those fields.
  • You can see from this chart how the number of women CEOs has plateauded in the last few years.
  • Out of 22 women only 2 from Silicon Valley.Let's face it: The tech scene is dominated by men. Estimates are rough, but at the high end, no more than 7 percent of tech company founders are women—and depending on how you count, it may be as low as 2 percent.In the software/technology industry particularly, there exists between a 5:1 and 10:1 ratio of men to women. Silicon Valley has had some mega-successful female stars like newly appointed Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, each of whom has spoken about being one of the few women to break through to the top of the tech world."People ask me all the time, 'What's it like to be a woman at Google?' " Mayer said on CNN, before leaving her post there. "I'm not a woman at Google; I'm a geek at Google. And being a geek is just great."Sandberg began her career hoping to de-emphasize gender - until she realized how few women reached "the C level." Today, she has become one of the most visible and outspoken advocates for women in tech.
  • The exact cause of this difference in female representation has been heatedly debated. Is it a result of social, psychological, and biological factors, is it the lack of effort to recruit and retain women in leadership positions, or a combination of both
  • The recession further undermined many efforts to develop women’s leadership, many budgets were slashed. “With the economic downturn, it has become okay not to focus on practices and invest in programs that support women,”
  • From the social/psychological standpoint, women experience a greater emphasis on developing social skills during childhood. This, combined with the stereotype that engineers are introverted, nerdy, and socially awkward, cause many women to believe they’ll be more comfortable in respectively relevant jobs such as teaching, human resources and marketing, secretaries….And the stereotype that men are better bosses because they can endure high pressured jobs and women are more vulnerable, fragile
  • Men’s brotherhood has been a well-oiled machine for centuries. As fiercely they compete with each other, they like to do business with each other. They belong to clubs, play golf and do business.
  • There also exists the notion that the lack of female participation in engineering fields results from biological factors. Some, like former President of Harvard, consider men to be better linear and logical thinkers, finding women to actually be physically incapable of performing the tasks required in such professions, namely due to lacking the spatial memory required in understanding high-level mathematics. The fact that women who enroll in an engineering program have a higher success rate than men in obtaining their engineering degrees however, almost completely disproves this theory. The problem isn’t that women are unable to complete the requirements associated with these jobs — the problem is that women simply aren’t making the decision to pursue careers in engeneering.
  • A new Yale study has revealed that there is a pervasive and unconscious bias on university campuses that favors male science students over their female counterparts. The result is fewer women in scientific professions.
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 guaranteed covered workers up to 12 weeks unpaid leave after a child’s birth or adoption or in case of a family illness. Meanwhile, since 1990 other nations with comparable resources have implemented a comprehensive agenda of “work-family reconciliation” acts. As a result, when the United States’ work-family policies are compared with those of countries at similar levels of economic and political development, the United States comes in dead last.International:Belgium, France and Italy, among others, recently adopted legislation encouraging the naming of women to corporate boards and “are starting to show progressIn Italy, which adopted a law in 2011 requiring listed and state-owned companies to have women in a third of management and supervisory-board positions by 2015, there was an increase of 4.9 percentage points between January and October last year in the number of women on the boards of listed companies. Even so, Italy remains below the European average, with only 11 percent of those seats occupied by women.Women now represented a quarter of the membership of nonexecutive boards on the CAC 40, an index of leading French stocks.France introduced its law last year requiring executive and nonexecutive boards to have 20 percent women by 2014 and 40 percent women by 2017. Boards that do not include enough women would have their votes annulled.
  • So what, then, are we to do? One possibility is simply to give up; to acknowledge women’s destinies as something different from men’s and stop complaining about it. This, however, hardly seems fair, either to the generations who fought so hard for women’s freedoms and right to choose , or to those who have not yet had the opportunity to give these freedoms a try. A second possibility is to keep fighting the old fights—for better day care, better family leaves, more flex time at work and co-parenting at home. These are all important goals. 6 months ago The Atlantic magazine published a story written by professor of Princeton and former director of policy for the US State Department Anne-Marie Slaughter Why….this question has too often been seen as an individual one isolated “failings” of women who can’t swing both a high-powered career and raising kids to why our society and economy make this impossible. The point is that socio-economic conditions of women in America make it impossible to have it all.This sentiment was shared by other successful women. Christine Lagarde admitted that women should be patient and accept the accept the fact that they cant do it all at the same time, and that there will be failures if they juggle careers and raising children at the same time.
  • A week before this trip a new wave of discussion on gender problem in the workplace has exploded which was triggered by a new book of SS “Lean In” which is scheduled to come to the bookstores this coming Monday. She argues that the glass ceiling that the women face invisible subconscious barriers not necessarily coming form men-bosses. In her view, women are also sabotaging themselves. “We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in,” she writes, and the result is that “men still run the world.” In her book, she urges them to resist slowing down in mere anticipation of having children; insist that their husbands split housework equally; draft short- and long-term career plans; and join a “Lean In Circle,” which is half business school and half book club. Sandberg wants to take women through a collective self-awareness exercise. Its hugely controversial because A) S who is… will women can relay to someone like sheb) Unconditional Responsibility and Using Stories powerfullyIt’s a new phase in discussion on work and motherhoodA lot of women who come to Silicon Valley notice that women are different. In her book Secrets of Silicon Valley Deborah Perry Piscone who came from Washigton DC says that they “ask big” they are not shy about asking, if it comes to fundraising for their non-profit or raising capital for their startup. They speak their mind more openly and not concerned about likability, they meet to go for run or walk the dish rather then coffee or cocktail, they are not that concern about their appearance, they are all business even when it comes to raising children and they don’t apologize for their successes. And they don’t try to be perfect.
  • Silicon Valley’s companies are providing their workers with services that make it easier to balance home and family life in an age when there are few stay-at-home spouses and work is stressful.Google increased the maternity leave from 3months to 5months.  The company also changes its pay policy, providing women on maternity leave with full pay. As a result, the number of women leaving decreased by 50 percent. New dads can take up to seven weeks of paid paternity leave.  The company also provides a $500 stipend for takeout meals after baby’s born and offers dry cleaning at the office so families don’t have to run one extra errand outside work hours. At Facebook, employees can take home a free dinner or, if working late, their families can come in to eat with them, leading to a regular sight of children in the campus cafeteria. The company also pays $3,000 per family in child care expenses, and offers adoption assistance of up to $5,000.At Evernote, a software company, 250 employees — every full-time worker, from receptionist to top executive — have their homes cleaned twice a month, free.Genentech and Palantir offers take-home dinners and helps employees find last-minute babysitters when a child is too sick to go to school.
  • The golf club is so cliche. But it's exactly what you would imagine, a bunch of powerful men getting together on their own. Women should do the same. More and more women realize that the biggest thing that holding women back is network with each other. Women are natural networkers, and yet we are still in the kindergarden when it comes to understand how to turbo-charge our networks to accomplish our economic and professional goals. And help other women to do the same. And play together.Right now all of us meet either online or we rent conference centers. As women, we often get into the pattern that keeping your head down and doing good work is enough - it's not. Success requires more than that.The appeal of having a space of their own appealed to many women but only recently The CLUB of Silicon Valley Women is an organization dedicated to helping women accelerate their leadership journeys by providing an environment that inspires and tools that empower. Annie Rogaski Partner, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Over the past few years, dozens of women's professional organizations have sprung up in Silicon Valley. It’s a culture of Silicon Valley’s community of living and working together and celebrate successes together.SS and Gina Bianchini backed new startup called Levo League to help young female professionals break through the glass ceiling. It offers career advice from how to negotiate a raise or conduct a meeting, to how to dress for an interview. An interesting initative came for the CEO of the Founder Institute AdeoRessi. He is making sure, via marketing  and outreach, that there are a large number of female applicants, which in turn increases the number of up-and-coming female entrepreneurs. The Founder Institute also launched a Female Founder Fellowship program in 2011 to attract more women to apply. Since implementing the program, the accelerator has increased the percentage of female-founded companies it backs from 16% to 36%. Founded in 1999 in Silicon Valley, Astia is an innovative global not-for-profit organization. Women 2.0 ( a very active group of girls geeks. It’s mission is to increase the number of female founders of technology startups.WITI (Women in technology International), NAWBO, The ClubGolden Seeds is a firm with an angel network of 250 men and women dedicated to investing in women-run companies. The Golden Seeds Knowledge Institute specializes on training women to become angel investors and venture capitalists500 Startups portfolio contains companies founded by over 100 women, including roughly 50 women CEOs. Through the consistent efforts of these organizations, more opportunities abound for women investors than ever before, but it will take some time to yield results.. As the number of women angel investors increases, so should the number of successful women founders, growing the pool of potential future angel investors, completing the cycle of growth.
  • Emergence of young female tech founders reflects sweeping change in the worlds of start-up companies. These are the faces of young women enterpreneurs whose companies were funded or they are angel investors. This is in very embryonic state. Most of these companies are early stage companies, there are not so many that scale to reasonable size. But the hope is that in 2-5 years when these companies grow you will see the surge of women CEOs. A lot of these women come out of the big companies – Google, Facebook, Apple and they want to create an excitement .Women 2.0 organization has a yearly conference when they celebrate an impressive number of female founder successes. A lot of us felt pressure to be better that male We have to be bullet prove, build confidence, work twice harder. You have to be tenacious, gutsy, able to work incredibly hard …Women need to find big markets, game changing, and do it….Led supported mentality
  • One of the top areas where there is a dearth of women in “power seat” roles has been in the area of venture capital. This goes for both women in venture capital firms as well as women seeking funding from these firms. Studies show that women make up just 12% of angel investors and venture capitalists. Fortunately, this is beginning to change. Some of the women on the picture I showed you are women angels. While it's not difficult to imagine a woman investing in the company in a friends and family round, the path gets more tenuous at the angel investing stage. Angel investing has high barriers to entry both personally and professionally. It requires not only existing personal capital to invest, but also a savvy for a particular industry, possible success as an entrepreneur in that industry, an understanding of the business side, and a collaborative network of like-minded investors.And the fact is that women would invest more into companies founded by women. One women entrepreneur said that she had over 50 meetings with angel investors men and she got money only when she met a women investor.Yahoo! Acquired Alike, a mobile company founded by womenCEO Maria Renhui Zhang. According to the Kauffman Foundation, venture funds with women on their teams invest in women founders 70% of the time. More women investors at the table, the more women run companies are funded, and the pipeline of women run companies grows.
  • The difference is that women entrepreneurs bring in 20% more revenue with 50% less money invested; therefore, investors who expand their networks to include more women founders will be more likely to reap the rewards.This makes clear who holds most American households' purse strings: Women control 80% or more of spending. It only makes sense that if the products are bought by women, female participation in design and development process will bring deeper insights into at least half of the customer base. 
  • Feminism wasn’t suppose to make us miserable. It was supposed to make us free, to give women the power to shape their destinies. Today we have choices that our grandmothers couldn’t even imagine. But the challenge lies in recognizing that having more choices carries the responsibility to make them wisely, striving not for perfection not having at all, but for stimulating, challenging and fulfilling life that continues to advance the progress of women in the business world. Despite the absence of dynamic change across the entire US workplace over the past XX years, there are tangible signs of good, innovative progress being made for women in the Silicon Valley workplace The Silicon Valley workplace culture is more merit-based than the rest of the United States; this cultural attitude will benefit women greatly over time, especially as more technology-trained women enter the work force. Progress is being made for women’s advance in the workplace through legislation being adopted in several European countries.  These examples of progressive thought will serve to inspire the US and other countries to follow. The very fact that are increasingly more and more examples of successful women entrepreneurs and professionals – those who have broken the glass ceiling – will continue to break down the antiquated mind-set that has held women back for so long.  Just as important, it will inspire other women – and build their confidence – to strive for success in the business world.    Women in the workplace are achieving more equality – and financial rewards – than ever before.  Let us continue the good momentum, and let us never give up.
  • Breaking the Glass Ceiling: How Silicon Valley’s Women Strive to Have it All

    1. 1. Breaking the Glass Ceiling:How Silicon Valley’s WomenStrive to Have it AllGdansk, March, 2013Natasha
    2. 2. How Far Up Can Women Go?
    3. 3. The “16% Ghetto” Rule“Women remain hugely underrepresented atposition of power in every single sector across thecountry. We have fallen into what I call the 16percent ghetto, which is that if you look at anysector, be it aerospace engineering, Hollywoodfilms, higher education, or Fortune 500 leadingposition, women max out at roughly 16 percent”(Deborah Spar, President of Barnard College, White Houseconference on urban economic development, March5, 2012)
    4. 4. Women’s Representation at Positions ofPower in the U.S• Politics: • Supreme Court – three women justices out of nine • Governors – six out of 50 (12 %) • Senators – 17% • House of Representatives – 16% The nation ranks 71st in female legislation representation, behind Bangladesh, Sudan and United Arab Emirates• Academia: • Women are half of college graduates, but less than a quarter of full professors and a fifth of college presidents• Business: • One third are M.B.A graduates • Two percent of Fortune 500 CEOs • Six percent of top earners • Eight percent of top leadership position • Sixteen percent of board directors and corporate officers
    5. 5. Women Executive Officers in the Fortune 500 (in %)( Source: 2012 Catalyst Census)
    6. 6. Only 2 Women CEOs of the Fortune 500 FromSilicon Valley • Meg Whitman, HP (#10) • Virginia Rometty, IBM (#19) • Patricia A. Woertz, Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) (#28) • Indra K. Nooyi, PepsiCo, Inc. (#41) • Irene B. Rosenfeld, Mondelez International • Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin (#58) • Ellen J. Kullman, DuPont (#72) • Phebe Novakovic, General Dynamics (#92) • Carol M. Meyrowitz, The TJX Companies, Inc. (#125) • Ursula M. Burns, Xerox Corporation (#127) • Sheri S. McCoy, Avon Products Inc. (#234) • Deanna M. Mulligan, Guardian (#250) • Debra L. Reed, Sempra Energy (#266) • Denise M. Morrison, Campbell Soup (#334) • Ilene Gordon, Ingredion Incorproated (#390) • Heather Bresch, Mylan (#396) • Kathleen M. Mazzarella, Graybar Electric (#451) • Mary Agnes (Maggie) Wilderotter, Frontier Communications (#464) • Gracia C. Martore, Gannett (#465) • Marissa Mayer, Yahoo (#483) • Beth E. Mooney, KeyCorp (#499)
    7. 7. Why Aren’t More Womenin Positions of Power in the U.S.?• Economic factors• Cultural• Social/Psychological• Biological• Political• Educational
    8. 8. Tough Economy
    9. 9. Stereotypes, Biases
    10. 10. Tradition of Men’s Brotherhood
    11. 11. Biological Factors
    12. 12. Bias Against Female Scientists
    13. 13. Work-Family Policies In the past 20 years the U.S has not passed any major federal initiatives to help workers to accommodate their family and work demands
    14. 14. “Why Women Cant Have It All”
    15. 15. Silicon Valley Mega-Woman’s Response –“Lean In”
    16. 16. Silicon Valley Companies’ Response
    17. 17. Your Network is Your Net Worth
    18. 18. Silicon Valley’s Women Strive Together
    19. 19. Female Founders to Watch
    20. 20. Women VCs = Funding For Women FoundersWomen Angels (Leslie Bradshaw, Forbes, October 2012)
    21. 21. Women Bring Success With Them• 20/50 rule (revenue/funding)• Companies with 55% female workers are more profitable• Women control 80% of family spending and will influence the purchase of $15 trillion in goods by 2014
    22. 22. Take Away Points• Despite the absence of dynamic change across the entire US over the past 40 years, there are tangible signs of innovative progress being made for women in Silicon Valley workplace• The Silicon Valley’s merit-based culture will benefit women greatly over time, especially as more technology-trained women enter the workforce• Progress is being made for women’s advance through legislation in some European countries. These examples of progressive thought will serve to inspire the US and other countries to follow• Examples of successful women-those who have broken the glass ceiling – will continue to break down the antiquated mind-set that has held women back for so long. It will build confidence and inspire women to strive for success in the business world• Women are achieving more equality, and financial rewards than ever before. Let us continue and never give up
    23. 23. THANK YOU