Want Women In Tech, Find The Role Models

The Next Web has an interesting set of posts regarding women in technology. The first post by Boris makes the accusation that women are holding themselves back. He even includes this inflammatory idea:

The longer I work in our industry the more I’m starting to think that most women never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Thankfully, the next day we see a counterpoint from Sarah Stokely. Disappointingly, she admits that it is tremendously difficult to keep women in tech for various reasons. In many cases, I can summarize the idea as technology tends to be a “good old boys” network. If you have ever worked at a tech company or a software development organization, you would understand why women may not want to work there. Sarah does offer a piece of advice:

if we really want to change the under representation of women in tech, and make sure we attract the finest minds we can, someone needs to budge and admit ‘we need to change things around’. Pointing fingers at each other while saying “I don’t need to do anything differently” is going to achieve exactly zip.

In addition to this, I think women need more role models in technology that are women. If girls cannot look up to a woman who has been successful in a male-dominated field, they will likely not pursue it. With this in mind, I decided to come up with a list of women bloggers and technologists that we should all be listening to. I apologize in advance to any women that I missed and should be included.

  1. Kathy Sierra – Mostly known for her Heads First series of books, but generally a programming geek. Disappointingly, she no longer blogs, but does give us 140-character goodness on Twitter.
  2. Valeria Maltoni – Not entirely a technical person, but she gives you an excellent look at how the business looks at things like social media.
  3. Sarah Perez – Currently blogging full time, but she used to be a system administrator. You can find her on Read Write Web and Microsoft’s Channel 10.
  4. Leah Culver – Programming geek on various startups like Pownce and now with Six Apart.
  5. Corvida – Blogger, web designer, general technologist and social media maven. She blogs at SheGeeks, but you are probably more likely to find her at the current hot conference.
  6. Tamar Weinberg – She seems to write for everyone at some point, but her home blog is Techipedia. She is also the author of The New Community Rules and a social media consultant.
  7. Marissa Mayer – Obviously she needs very little introduction, but she actually is a software engineer and received her MS in Computer Science from Stanford.
  8. Charlene Li – Formerly an analyst at Forrester and co-author of Groundswell. Most likely everyone is already listening to her. She started her own consulting company called the Altimeter Group.
  9. Kara SwisherMore of a journalist than technologist, but she has been covering technology forever. She is included more for her take-no-prisoners style and the fact that she is not afraid of a fight.

Admittedly, there are probably several other bloggers and technologists that I should include, but this list should get us all moving in the right direction.

9 thoughts on “Want Women In Tech, Find The Role Models

  1. A couple off the top of my head that spring to mind:

    Caterina Fake – Co-founder of Flickr
    Sarah Lacy – Tech Journalist

    Here’s a great list by FastCompany:


    There have been some incredibly rich discussions on the topic at Hacker News:


    Some stereotypes and bias displayed in the discussions, but that’s actually useful to read if you want to understand both sides of the issue, because you get a clearer picture of people’s true feelings and motivations on the subject.


  2. Lynne and Ryan

    I remember seeing the Fast Company article but that was definitely more of a “most influential” list. I was trying to focus more on women I would want my daughters to talk to and learn more from, maybe specific traits from each. It could be very closely related to the most influential list, but this is more of a personal list.

    Caterina Fake I do not know as much about though she is probably a good addition. I did not include Sarah Lacy because I already have Kara Swisher and they are very similar.


  3. Rob

    I think that either Gina Trapani or Barb Dybward would fit the bill of what you’re talking about here. Also Rohit Bhargarva did this Women of Personality Project http://www.thepersonalityproject.com/wop2/ that although it’s not all tech women, there are quite a few in there.

    Also one of the links I posted from FC wasn’t just the magazine article but an archive of everything FC has done on Women In Tech (or at least most everything they’ve covered about Women In Tech all with lists that you might pull from).

    There’s also Women Who Tech http://www.womenwhotech.com/ and Women In Tech and Girls In Tech, where you might find some women you’d want to add to your list.

    You’ve just touched on one of the topics that I’m always talking about. People are always asking where are the women in tech, and they’re definitely out there.


  4. Lynne

    I am not sure how I missed Gina Trapani, she should absolutely be on this list. I do not know Barb Dybward, but I will definitely look into her and the other links you provided.

    I agree that the “where are the women in tech” argument is fairly lame because people just don’t seem to look.


  5. I was wondering the same thing about Gina Trapani. It is not often that there is a discussion about women in tech. This type of content needs to happen more often!

    KD Paine should also be on this list.


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