Why Aren’t More Minority Women in Tech?

Minority women are taught to be risk averse. When I was growing up, I was told I had two options for my future career path: Doctor or Lawyer. My mother gave me these options because they were safe and respectable. Her grandchildren would be well taken care of if her daughter got a second degree and began a career making six figures. One friend told me she had to be a doctor because it was her parent’s dream and a way that she could guarantee providing for them when they got older and could no longer work. Growing up in a family that is financially insecure (as many minority women are), children are pushed to have a lifestyle with a steady income. The first careers that come to mind are not start-ups when financial security is the end goal.

Failing is not an option for minority women. Many great entrepreneurs fail a few times before they succeed. In the valley, starting a company that fails is a rite of passage. The price of failure for minority women is high and not looked at positively. If the startup I work for failed tomorrow, you can bet my mother would tell me either a. You should have stayed at Google. and/or b. You better start applying for law school. Minority women don’t have the same safety nets that their white male counterparts do.

Minority women by and large are not exposed to engineering and computer science. Many of my friends and co-workers who are engineers have parents who are engineers or went to high schools with a strong computer science curriculum. They grew up learning to code. My experience was vastly different. My high school "computer science" course was really focused on typing and learning how to operate a computer. I really had no clue what computer science was in high school and engineering always made me think of buildings and architecture. I ended up taking a few computer science courses at Stanford, but only in my junior and senior year when the fear of the unknown subsided. Many of the women I know in tech were only exposed to computer science in college which puts them far behind those who grew up working on projects of their own. Coming from families that are unaware of engineering as a career removes the exposure to tech that is so frequently apparent in engineering grads of today. (Source)


Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

Posted: April 12th, 2011
at 3:13pm by mnp

Categories: myninjaplease,computers,web,"ninja",development

Comments: No comments


Leave a Reply