Fewer women in technology now than in 1991

I was reminded of an article I read a few months ago about the “real reason women quit engineering.” Stemming The Tide: Why Women Leave Engineering summarizes the findings of a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study of 3,700 women with engineering degrees.

They found that just one in four women who had left the field reported doing so to spend more time with family. And, unsurprisingly:

Women engineers who were treated in a condescending, patronizing manner, and were belittled and undermined by their supervisors and co-workers were most likely to want to leave their organizations.

News such as this can’t inspire young women to go into these fields…

What percentage of women are participating in the more technical side of technology companies? Vastly fewer than men. According to U.S. government statistics, women accounted for 36 percent of IT professionals in 1991. They now account for only 25 percent of same.

In an article last year in the Wall Street Journal [regarding] the lack of women in venture-backed startups:

Only about 11% of U.S. firms with venture-capital backing in 2009 had current or former female CEOs or female founders… Start-up incubator Y Combinator has had just 14 female founders among the 208 firms it has funded.

The “where-are-all-the-women” meme is familiar… But in start-up land, where the good idea is supposed to trump social status and everything else, the lack of women in positions of authority stands out.

— Excerpt: Tech really is a man’s world 

by Linda Forrest, Business Insider (August 2011)