What Women Want From Employers, Coworkers

By Paula Bernier

How can we attract more women to cyber security careers? How can women get started in tech? Did you hear about the new statue of the defiant girl in front of the Wall Street bull?

These are all headlines and story topics I’ve recently run across, or that have been emailed to me by coworkers.

And it’s good to talk about this kind of stuff. The more we talk about these issues, the more attention they are likely to receive. And that’s clearly a good thing.

The creation and expansion of the Girls Who Code effort has been important. So are other STEM efforts to encourage young ladies to get into science, technology, engineering, and math fields. The defiant girl statue is ok too.

But as much as we like to talk about all that stuff – and highlight the select few women like Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg who have risen through the ranks to achieve high profiles in tech – the fact remains that women are still frequently paid less then their male counterparts, women often contribute more to their organizations than male counterparts yet receive lower pay and recognition, and other forms of gender inequity – and downright harassment – persist.

Let’s look at just a small sampling of the headlines we’ve been treated to in recent weeks:

Sad.

That said, if us ladies are not always anxious to attend women in tech-type events or discuss how we’ve come a long way baby, please excuse us. Because while sometimes women hear this stuff and feel like the defiant girl depicted in the statue, sometimes we just want to yell “Enough already!”

It kind of reminds me of some comments Carrie Brownstein makes in her book Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl.

Brownstein, who you may know from the show Portlandia, got her start in entertainment with the band Sleater-Kinney. In her book, she talks about how interviews with she and her band mates inevitably included questions asking what it’s like being a “woman in music.”

“To this day, because I know no other way of being or feeling, I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman in a band – I have nothing else to compare it to,” she writes. “But I will say that I doubt in the history of rock journalism and writing any man has been asked ‘Why are you in an all-male band?’”

So while exploring the female experience and working to improve it through dialog and programs is important, giving women the same opportunities as men by providing equal pay for equal work, allowing them a seat at the table when decisions are being made, and inviting them to speak not just about women’s issues but about other areas of expertise to which they can add something valuable is what will really move us all forward.

Also, TMC invites you to participate in our Diversity Awards, for which applications are being accepted through April 28.

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