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The Good News and the Bad News of Women in Tech

TMCnet Feature

December 26, 2013

The Good News and the Bad News of Women in Tech

By Paula Bernier
Executive Editor, TMC

Marissa Mayer has grabbed headlines for her work retooling Yahoo!, for which she’s been lauded for changing the culture. Sheryl Sandberg has garnered attention not only for her leadership as Facebook’s (News - Alert) COO, but also for her best-selling book Lean In, around which she has since build a branded online site. HP CEO Meg Whitman, another well-recognized female in tech, just got a raise from $1 million to $1.5 million.

Another female leader at HP, Dr. Satwant Kaur – who’s known as the First Lady of Emerging Technologies – will be a keynote speaker at ITEXPO (News - Alert) Jan. 30 in Miami. Kaur authored the book "Transitioning Embedded Systems to Intelligent Environments: A journey through evolving technologies,” and serves as chief technologist of innovation for HLS in the office of the CTO for HP.

Women are also making their mark at smaller organizations and in other leadership roles. For example, Denise Spell, who’s described in a company press release as a New Jersey mom, has introduced a mobile app that helps people locate information after emergencies, including natural disasters. She set out to create the CurrantNOW app after living through Hurricane Sandy. Now she’s focused on raising $15,000 in 30 days via a Kickstarter campaign; the funds will be used to enable survivors to document their experiences during natural disasters and other emergencies.

But despite these examples of female leadership, only about 20 percent of the top leaders in the American workforce are women, according to new research by Colorado Women's College. Catalyst says only about 4 percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by women. And, referencing a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report from October, The Denver Post reports that women on average made just 81 percent the pay of their male colleagues.

Meanwhile, the average CEO salary for women in the top 10 tech companies is 25 percent less than the average male salary.

Women at the top ten Fortune 500 technology companies comprise 30 percent of CEOs, 9 percent of CIOs, 17 percent of executive officers, and 22 percent of boards of directors, according to Colorado Women's College at the University of Denver (News - Alert), which conducted the study Benchmarking Women's Leadership in the United States. And women comprise 19.5 percent of all leadership roles in the technology sector, according to the report.

While the study indicates that more women are now graduating with high-tech degrees, it adds that some studies indicate the number of women in high tech has actually plateaued or dropped since the 1990s, although the number of jobs in this area has increased during that time.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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