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Women in the Technology Field

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Women in the Technology Field
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Women in the Technology Field The revolution of technology had begun centuries ago; it had been the work of many over the years to bring it where it is today. It entailed people with bright imaginations to come up with technological inventions. These inspiring designs were then taken and built upon to improve its operation. Finally computers were no longer a revolution, but an evolution. During the course of time many men as well as women were affected by technology. Unfortunately, women have not received the same form of acceptance as the men in this field of work. After careful research, women in technology, they found it was difficult to find the names of women influential in technology. In the era when women are increasingly prominent in many industries, there are few women in technology. There are many reasons some women might avoid a career in the technology field. Technology advancement and improvements increase the separation between genders, which show that industrialization and the principles of gender influence each other. Men and women have very different decision making-processes when assessing new technology. In the past, women were considered to be incapable to perform on the same level as men when dealing with technology. Women have been mainly seen as the “stay at home and take care of the kids” person. The majority of professionals in the technology field are male; these are manly environments in which women do not feel comfortable and unwelcome. It leads to unwanted behavior that includes expressing negative stereotypes of women and the telling of dirty jokes in an attempt at humor. Women should not have to endure the “locker room atmosphere” while in a work environment. Other activities are morally faultless, such as male coworkers engaging in basketball in which women fell less part of a group, especially if she does not enjoy the same activities. From the construction industry to computer engineering, the perception of women’s intellectual level as well as their ability to perform has been not only radically low, but also alarming. Computer trade shows and technical conferences are often more male dominated than the workplace or academic environments. Women are outnumbered by men at industry and academic conferences. At trade shows, companies have “historically employed attractive women to draw attention to product exhibits or booths” (LaPlante, 1989, p. 58). While this practice has been declining, there are reports that state it is not declining. Women are treated better at technical conferences that at trade shows, but are often propositioned by male attendees. This problem has discouraged friendships with colleagues who could be useful contacts for the women in this field and unintentionally offends potentially important men. In the technology field some people consciously believe women are less capable which can lead to different treatment from men. There are those who acknowledge that women succeed at engineering, but are considered to be “somehow suspect”, in which women are held to different standards. They are not treated equally as men or even as individuals; these are situations of a more fundamental problem, lower expectations for women. Women are often asked fewer or easier questions than men, superiors often make contact with men before women, and more likely to know and use the names of their male employees than of female employees. Behaviors of men are sometimes considered attractive but not in women, there is something about our culture’s view of male-dominated field such as engineering that causes female aspirants to be considered unattractive. When speaking women are often interrupted more than men and are believed to be less technically inclined. There are many women encouraged to explore the opportunities in the technology field by family and educators, but some feel they are not able to compete with men. There is no equal opportunity to have feminine workers in an already male dominated field. This is part of the problem which has not yet found a solution. Affirmative action: policies that take factors including “race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group “in areas of employment, education, and business”, usually justified as countering the effects of history of discrimination. It is similar with lowered standards; there are affirmative action programs that have goals to ensure all applicants considered in an objective manner. Many companies in the technology field have lowered their expectations for women; they still think females should not work full time or have eighty hour work weeks. Females are expected to be home to take care of the household, not to be career driven as men, this would be unfeminine. There are many recommendations for women to change the future of the male dominated computer technology field. The majority of these changes have already been implemented throughout the United States. As stated on the EEOC website; it is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. Both victim, and the harasser can be either a woman or man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex. Although the law does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that may not be very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive environment or when it results in an adverse decision(such as the firing or demotion of the victim). The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a coworker, or someone who is an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer. (“Eeoc”,n.d.) Women are encouraged to attend coed classes so they are not treated differently from the males, there are many colleges and career services that can help with these kinds of issues. If there was an easier way to encourage women to enter this field it should be done. There are plenty of male dominated work forces throughout the entire world and just a little encouragement from one female can do wonders for the next female to enter the world of technology. There are groups that help young women become more interested in pursuing a career in the technology field. One group is Girls in Technology(GIT), which helps to support and initiate programs to foster technology for females. Women in Technology(WIT), which is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of advancing women in technology – form the classroom to the boardroom – by providing advocacy, leadership development, networking, mentoring and technology education. It is the premier organization empowering women to be architects of change in the technology industry. Another group is the National Center for Women & Information Technology(NCWIT), a not-for-profit group that works to correct the imbalance of gender diversity in technology and computing because gender diversity positively correlates with a larger workforce, better innovation, and increased business performance. While there may be some challenges, the fact still remains that women are not well represented in the technology field, which continues to be a male dominated field. Women have made some progress in the technology field over the past decade, but there is still the lack of women’s interest as well as participation in technology is in need of change. There are strategies that may influence young women to pursue careers in this field which can include no stereotypes, encourage female students, and providing a positive classroom setting to meet the need of the diverse group of females. People are not purposely trying to discourage women from the technology field, but the behavior is often subconsciously influenced by stereotypes that they may not even realize they have. With a positive attitude, women can make the most of their situation. They should not feel less powerful than men, nor should they feel it is the race that will never be won be women. It only takes one women to reach the top of the technology food chain to make a difference. Though there has not been a dramatic change brought about by these problems women face, the future of women in the technology field will hopefully increase.

References
Bury, R. (2010, November). Women, work and Web 2.0: a case study. New Technology, Work and Employment, 25(3), 223-237. doi:10.1111/j.1468-005X.2010.00250.x
Klawe, M., Whitney, T., & Simard, C. (2009, February). Women in Computing-Take 2. Communications of ACM, 52(2), 68-76. doi:10.1145/1461928.1461947
LaPlante, A. (1989,November). Sexist Images Persist at Comdex. Infoworld, 11(48), 58. Retrieved from http://www.infoworld.com
U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission. (2012). Sexual harassment. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov
University of Colorado. (2012). National for Women & Information Technology. Retrieved from http://www.ncwit.org
Women in Technology. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.womenintechnology.org

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