To get to the heart of the tech industry’s stark gender gap—just 37% of those hired at the entry level are female—you have to start young. Somewhere around the fourth grade. That’s when decades of unconscious bias conspire to discourage girls from considering careers in computer science. When even the daughters of successful female technology executives like YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki decide that information technology—at least the geek and brogrammer personification of it—seems “super lame.” At least temporarily.
Put plainly, America’s pipeline of technical talent leaks females prospects before they’re teenagers. The reasons are myriad: teachers who subtly discourage, parents who don’t encourage enough, our collective failure in talking up amazing role models. Ever heard of Margaret Hamilton? Why not? Her software helped put the Apollo 11 crew on the moon.
The huge challenge of getting girls to consider computer science in the first place was definitely top of mind this week at the industry’s largest gathering of women in computing, the Grace Hopper Celebration.
There are literally dozens of organizations rallying to this cause—from Code.org, which is planning its next “Hour of Code” event for early December, and Girls Who Code, which aims to reach 1 million girls with its coding bootcamps by 2020. The latter has convinced more than two dozen companies to recruit from its alumni. The list includes Facebook, IBM, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Pinterest, Square, and Twitter. Jack Dorsey showed up in person to disclose his pledge, the token male on-stage here Thursday afternoon.
Support within the corporate fold is also growing. During an on-stage interview at the event, Facebook Sheryl Sandberg pointed to the fast-growing number of Lean In professional mentorship circles dedicated to computer science and engineering: 225 and growing quickly. Circle, which are encourage to meet monthly, offer networking and support for women seeking career advice.
Overall, there are now more than 25,000 circles in 132 countries, an astonishing number when you consider Sandberg was shooting for 1,000 as her first short-term goal. A large majority of women make career changes within six months of joining. That alone, should encourage more women working in technology-related roles to talk more to each other. And, to stay in a field where they’ll be outnumbered by men for decades.
“I hope you stay in the tech field,” Sandberg implored. “Stay in for the women who follow you. Stay in for my eight-year-old daughter.”
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TOP OF MIND
More worries over the health of the IPO market. Payment processing company First Data managed the biggest initial public offering this year on Thursday, raising a whopping $2.6 billion. But that was less than it wanted, feeding concern over whether the IPO market is rich enough to support the herd of tech unicorns wanting in. It sure puts a lot of pressure on mobile payments company Square, which filed this week and will probably take its chances before Thanksgiving.
Dell and EMC think being private helps companies be more customer-centric. But more than 40% of those customers think the deal isn’t in their best interests. Others believe it will be “distracting.” (Fortune)
AMD hasn’t managed a profit in four straight quarters. Revenue slipped 26% in its fiscal Q3. The struggling chipmaker will sell a majority stake in its testing and design operations to a Chinese partner, cutting costs and raising $371 million to invest in the process. (Wall Street Journal)
Apple will now give stock grants to every employee. The unusual gesture is especially significant for those working in its retail stores and customer support organizations. (Fortune)
Is your phone safe for work?
Mobile security is an increasingly important frontier in the war between hackers and cyber defenders. The past year alone has been a steady stream of Apple iOS hacks, Google Android snafus, and other problems for mobile phones and tablets. Almost three-quarters of data breaches may be related to inadequate mobile protection, according to a new report.
BITS AND BYTES
Uber gets green light in London, basically because its drivers use mobile apps and not taxi meters to calculate fares. Speaking of which, the technology inside New York’s yellow cab fleet will soon look very different. (Fortune, Journal)
Flipboard co-founder resigns engineering post. Evan Doll is now entrepreneur in residence for Redpoint Ventures. (Flipboard)
This startup wants to kill Microsoft Word. Quip, which is tackling word processing for mobile devices, has raised another $30 million led by Greylock Partners. (Fortune)
More proof that Dropbox is reinventing itself as a collaboration company. The idea behind its newest service, Paper, is to make creating, revising, and sharing information simpler. (Wired)
MY FORTUNE BOOKMARKS
Amazon makes nice (sort of) with hybrid cloud crowd by Barb Darrow
Why this Facebook exec shared her performance review with her team
by Kristen Bellstrom
Netflix’s excuse for missed earnings is ridiculous by Daniel Roberts
ONE MORE THING
Your next manager may be a machine. Software from tiny startup Tenacity can tell which members of a team are most cooperative and which might pose a challenge to collaboration. (Fortune)
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
DevOps Enterprise Summit: Lean principles meet technology management. (Oct. 19 – 21; San Francisco)
Tableau Conference 2015: Tableau’s annual customer conference. (Oct 19 -23; Las Vegas)
Dell World: Global conference for customers and partners. (Oct. 20 – 22; Austin, Texas)
Virtuous Circle Conference: Internet policy in the round (Oct. 12-13, Menlo Park, California)
CX San Francisco: Forrester’s forum for customer experience professionals. (Oct. 22 – 23)
Oracle OpenWorld: Customer and partner conference. (Oct. 25 – 29; San Francisco)
TBM Conference: Manage IT like a business. (Oct. 26 – 29; Chicago)
eBusiness Chicago: eBusiness and channel strategy. (Oct. 29 – 30)
QuickBooks Connect: SMBs, entrepreneurs, accountants and developers. (Nov. 2 – 4; San Jose, California)
SIMposium: CIOs, CTOs, and IT executives. (Nov. 1 – 3; Charlotte, North Carolina)
CMO+CIO: Forrester’s summit on strategy collaboration. (Nov. 2 – 4; Sarasota, Florida)
Oktane: Identity management trends. (Nov. 2 – 4; Las Vegas)
FutureStack: Define your future with New Relic. (Nov. 11 – 13; San Francisco)