Yes, women are still underrepresented and underappreciated in the media startup world, but the truth is women are founding their own digital media companies. The problem is that they are largely absent from the buzzy narrative about entrepreneurs leaving the confines of traditional journalism.
Tech’s biggest companies say that recruiting women is a priority. “If we do that, there’s no question we’ll more than double the rate of technology output in the world,” Larry Page, the chief executive of Google, said last spring. Yet at Google, less than a fifth of the engineers are women.
That’s a typical figure. Twenty percent of software developers are women, according to the Labor Department, and fewer than 6 percent of engineers are black or Hispanic. Comparatively, 56 percent of people in business and financial-operations jobs are women, as are 36 percent of physicians and surgeons and one-third of lawyers.
At tech start-ups, often considered the most desirable places to work, the number of women appears to be even lower. The companies generally don’t release these numbers publicly, but an engineer at Pinterest has collected data from people at 133 start-ups and found that an average of 12 percent of the engineers are women.
There is a way to make a working environment where everyone feels valued and like diversity is an asset, not a liability. I know this kind of working environment is possible and exists and not just a theoretical reality and I know that because I work there. And even though it feels magical it’s actual not magic. It’s a practical reality created by my teammates.
Lola Pierson discusses working for a small tech company that prioritizes having conversations about gender, drawing on her experience and sharing specific ways her office addresses gender and tech issues.
Up until the mid 1980s, women flocked to computer science in droves. Then they dwindled away like the dinosaurs. Now, only about 12 percent of computer science majors are women and they hold just 17 percent of computer science jobs.
Listen to ideas of how to improve the way programming is taught in this audio piece from WYNC.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg's nonprofit organization, LeanIn.org, has partnered with Getty Images to “to create a line of stock photos that depict mature, professional businesswomen, rather than ones who appear dumb, subservient, sexualized, or sometimes all three at once.”
“One recent study found that only 3% of creative directors are women. In journalism, men continue to fill the majority of top editor roles — and this likely extends to photo editor roles as well. We’ve all seen Mad Men. This isn’t the 1950s, but the advertising industry is not exactly a model for gender equality. None of this is to say that men can’t accurately depict women in visual imagery, but if we’ve learned anything from the research, it’s that gender equality in every industry leads to better and more representative outcomes.”
"The new library of photos shows professional women as surgeons, painters, bakers, soldiers and hunters. There are girls riding skateboards, women lifting weights and fathers changing babies’ diapers.”
The Internet is just like any other public space. Women face the same discrimination and harassment that they end up facing on the street.
[A] byline analysis of U.K. national newspapers in 2012 indicates that some areas still have very few women — in particular politics, sports, and opinion writing. These findings are also supported by qualitative interview data. There are similar lacunae in the U.S. press.
So in addition to the problem of vertical segregation, where women are not reaching the highest ranks of journalism, there is a continuing problem of horizontal segregation: gender division by subject matter.
The goal of The Riveter, quite simply, is to create a space for women to publish work about whatever interests them. The submissions we’ve gotten so far show that there is no limitation to the subject matter that women writers are passionate about, and we want to bring that important work to the forefront.