A few people want us to denounce Adriana Gardella’s interview of Audrey MacLean Why Women Have an Advantage in Technology from on high… but there are some major life crunches around here, let me tell you that.
So, what do you think?
Q. Technology is often described as a field that’s inhospitable to women. Has that been your experience?
Ms. MacLean: When I entered the industry, it was burgeoning. Though being a woman was a novelty, it was growing so fast the opportunity was there, just as the opportunity was there for women during World War II. Tech is a true meritocracy. Either you have the goods or you don’t. There’s less concern with gender, race, color and creed. I really truly believe that, despite data on the dearth of women in technology, tech doesn’t have a barrier up to women. In fact, if anything, women who are technically prepared have an advantage.
Q. What’s that?
Ms. MacLean: In my class, I require the students to form teams to do a four-person project. I don’t assign the teams. I’ve noticed the guys seek the women out as teammates. I think the women are particularly good at bringing the team together and at presenting, which are extremely important skills when developing a product. Female engineers are also sought after. Women make up half the population, and companies want user interfaces that appeal to all buyers. In addition to generally being more collaborative, women have an intuitive sense of usability that leads to better products.
Q. So, what explains the discouraging statistics on women in tech?
Ms. MacLean: If more women prepared themselves academically for tech jobs, they’d get hired. Just like more doctors are women because more women have entered medical school. Women need to take advantage of technology courses at the university level, and not all major in communications or fashion design. It’s not that those things aren’t worthwhile if you like them, but your career opportunities will be greater in I.T., including those in green tech and medical tech. If women don’t get the required technical skills, they won’t be positioned to move into core, general management roles with technology companies. C.E.O.’s don’t come from H.R. They come out of product development and marketing.