by Deanna Kosaraju, Founder of Global Tech Women
As we close out 2013 let's look back at the year in review. If you have been out of the loop on these topics, you should join the Global Tech Women Facebook Group!
Here are the top 5 topics of conversation for women in tech around the globe based on community posts:
1. Sheryl Sandberg and the book Lean In. In 2013 a stream of voices came to light both for and against Sandberg's premise that women should "lean in" and take control of their careers. The most incendiary comments have come from Anne Marie Slaughter in a number of places, the latest entitled "Why the Lean In Conversation Isn't Enough". The article "Feminism’s Tipping Point: Who Wins from Leaning in?" by former Facebook engineer Kate Losse, spurred the most comments and debate in the GTW (Global Tech Women) Community.
"Sandberg assumes that the feminist question is simply, how can I be a more successful worker?"
GTW made Lean In a Book Club selection in 2013 - check out the recording, review articles and join the discussion.
2. Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo. What a lightning rod this woman has become! First, she made the decision to ban all workers from working at home while she built a nursery in her office. Taking a 2-week maternity leave, she created a stir of debate here at GTW - is this good or bad for women in tech? Then, she extends maternity benefits for all employees - men and women. Finally, her stack ranking of workers is causing many employees to be shown the door - on a quarterly basis. And who can forget the comment made during a shareholders meeting to Ms. Mayer, "I'm George Polis. I have 2,000 shares of Yahoo. I'm Greek, and I'm a dirty old man, and you look attractive, Marissa."
Despite your opinion on Ms. Mayer, she will continue to be a beacon for women executives in tech --- good and bad.
3. The year of the female tech entrepreneur. Globally, the focus on women in start-ups and as entrepreneurs has increased substantially in 2013! This has been GREAT news for the GTW community. Here are a few of the many articles posted on the Global Tech Women Facebook group:
Turkey: Nilufer Durak: From Corporate America to a Tech Startup in Turkey
US: Limor Fried: The Maker Movement
Bangalore, India: Bangalore Women Kick-Starting Their Lives as Bosses
Cape Town, South Africa: Female African Leaders Make Pledge At Inaugural African Women's Conference
Indonesia: GEPI Sets Up Angel Investor Network in Indonesia with Female Entrepreneurs in Mind
Canada: Cross-border program gives women in tech a boost
Eastern Europe: Burgeoning start-up accelerators
Australia: Australia ranks as world's No. 2 for women entrepreneurs
Chile: Growing women in tech start-up community
Plus many others. This continues to be a trend for 2014 and we will continue to bring you the latest.
4. Tech Conferences and the lack of and degrading comments made towards women.
Outrage at a Microsoft gaming event when a woman was matched with a man on stage and told "she played like a girl" then told "...just let it happen. It will be over soon" creating outrage by women's groups. Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco (see photo) - a picture says a thousand words. A guy's take on women at a security conference created quite a stir from the comments posted on his blog. To end the year with a start-up conference and an app called Titstare and the unbelievable tweets by Pax Dickson reminds us of the worst aspects in the culture of tech.
Australia's 20 top business leaders signed a pledge to ban all-male panels from their conferences. Australia is working nationally to address the issue here and in other areas we will discuss at this years Voices Conference.
5. The numbers of Women on Boards. Globally, the number of women on Boards is going up. But this Fall, the pending IPO of Twitter created a stir when Vivek Wadwha called them out. Vivek Wadhwa blasted Twitter CEO Dick Costello for not having women on its Board at IPO calling him and all of Silicon Valley sexist. Costello fought back calling Wadwha "the Carrot Top of Academia". Next thing we know we are talking about 8 other IPO's without women. It appears Wadwha won this argument as Twitter announced a female board member a few weeks ago. Companies about to go public are on notice...we are watching.
Obviously, there were many more issues than the 5 above. The new CEO of GM, lack of female VC's, low percentages of funding for female start-ups, the growing number of organizations focused on increasing the numbers of girls in tech, etc...Did we get your top 5? What would you add?
Wishing you an amazing 2014. We hope you will stay connected to Global Tech Women throughout the year. We are here for you and would love to hear your thoughts on how we can do better.