I’m departing from my traditional posts about Database Sherpa and the work around the process, because lately I’ve been stumbling across articles like The Worrying Consequences of the Wikipedia Gender Gap and Inside Silicon Valley’s Gender Gap. They bring back old memories and new worries.
For those friends who know me well, you know that this is an issue near and dear to my heart. My first love was programming, in large part to my education at Michigan State University and my dear friend Pat Draper, who constantly supported and encouraged my pursue of a degree in Computer Science.
I know that most of my female friends are not going to run out and become programmers or pursue a degree in Computer Science. While it would have made me very happy if the majority of my class was female, rather than male, when I graduated in 1991, I am also realistic in understanding that not every field is for every person. I could go on and on about the lack of women in the field of computer science and specifically the lack of programmers, but I won’t bore you with that. Now, onto my new worry.
It has to do with the article about the Wikipedia Gender Gap. In a nutshell, a disturbing study discovered that only 13% of Wikipedia’s editors are women! And here’s the rub: There is no logical reason for this. Wikipedia editors aren’t required to go to school for years and study. They don’t need a computer science degree. All they need to do is put the information out there, edit inaccuracies and add information. It’s fairly easy. Nothing to fear. But yet, we see a huge gender gap.
And here’s another fact. More men than women are creating and running companies whose products are aimed at women. See this fascinating article about the rise of pink color businessmen.
This ALARMS me and really, frankly, scares me to death. If we aren’t at the table (or the keyboard), we won’t have our voices heard.
So, my call to action for my sisters:
- Become an editor for Wikipedia.
- Learn how ANY technology works — and then make something better.
- Learn the statistics of women representations in leadership, government…
- Don’t blame men. Don’t blame the media. Accept responsibility and do something. ANYTHING.
- Support your sisters in their hard work. Make them dinner, give them a shoulder…. whatever it takes to help them — and us — bridge the gender gap.