Twitter Co-Founder Jack Dorsey Discusses The Tech Gender Gap

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The gender divide in the tech industry is glaringly obvious. With all the recent diversity reports being released by every major tech co from Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Indiegogo, Yahoo, and more, what they all had in common was that they averaged 30% of female staff members, and that number decreased when it came to specific tech and leadership positions.

So what will it take to bridge the gap and allow more women to have opportunities and get interested in this fast-growing sector? Firstly, it has to start at a young age, says Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. In an interview with Yahoo News, he spoke about how his second company, Square, is aiming to change the status quo by offering a College Code Camp for women at their Silicon Headquarters.

Square is a mobile payments company. If you’ve ever been to a store, cafe, farmers markets and swiped your card on an iPad or iPhone, you have just witnessed the advanced power of Square, and it was all created by code. It seems Jack is in the biz of making clever, simple-to-use and every day tech ideas, which he can hopefully pass onto the girls who take part in the camp.

Square’s CFO Sarah Friar says the change won’t happen overnight, but it will take key commitments to placing women in leadership that will enable to tides to change.

“In my mind there is no better thing we can do to inspire women engineers than to show right at the head of engineering at Square we have a woman {Alyssa Henry} and she’s amazing.”

Eva Snyder, a sophomore at Mount Holyoke College, agrees: “I definitely think having strong female role models, even something as small as if your sixth-grade teacher in mathematics is a woman, makes a big difference.”

“Boys get Legos for Christmas. Girls get Barbies and get interested in fashion design, while boys get interested in building and creating new things,” says another student Jackie Orth, a senior from the University of Louisville.

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The camp is made up of college female engineering students who participate in leadership sessions, coding workshops, and a hackathon at the end of the 4 day code-fest. The whole idea is to inspire the next generation of female coders, and the more opportunities they have access to will mean a higher percentage of tech roles being filled by women at startups and companies.

“If we can really have a program and people can actually see our folks who live it every single day and who really push themselves and also get pushed by the energy and the drive that they see from these girls, everyone gets better for it,” says Jack.

He started coding at 14 years old, and states the push has to start from a young age specifically with girls. Only 20% of software developers in the US are women, the Yahoo report below states. Sarah Friar also reiterates that because women get older and don’t see as many people like themselves represented in tech companies, they may feel intimidated to progress or make different life choices, taking themselves out of the equation altogether.

If there is anyone who can prove you CAN have a family and have a top tech career, just look at Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer who was hired when she was 6 months pregnant, or Youtube CEO Susan Wojcicki who started her Google career when founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin used to rent a room in her house, just announced she is having a fifth child. There’s some pretty awesome representations right there, but we do need more.

That’s where the next generation comes in, and it has to start with top tier tech companies reaching out and creating initiatives for women to have access to greater opportunities.

 

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