More women in technology would be good for technology and innovation, for the women who are currently there, and for the world.
1: Because we need more people in tech, period.
Okay, everyone should be able to get behind this one. With engineering specifically, we have a serious lack of qualified engineers (in the U.S at least, and many other countries). Out in Silicon Valley, companies are struggling to hire software engineers — even top companies like Google and Facebook. This is hurting the US’ ability to grow companies. If as many women went into engineering as men, this would be a HUGE win for the US and for the world.
2: Because there will be less sexual harassment and discomfort when there’s more women around.
The lack of women in certain fields leads to harassment and general increased discomfort. This is a bad thing, obviously.
3: Because there will be less discrimination if it’s not considered unusual for women to pursue tech careers.
Because there are fewer women in the sciences, women face discrimination and sexism. For example, in one study, academics were given resumes from men and women for a lab manager position. The resume were *identical* other than the names, which were used to indicate gender. The academics said they’d offer the male candidates $30,000 and the female candidates $26,500. On a scale from 1 to 7, the female candidates were also rated significantly less competent (3.3 vs 4 for men) and less hireable (2.9 vs 3.76). I would hope you agree that it’s a bad thing that people are unfairly being paid less.
4: More women in tech now will encourage more girls to pursue their own interest in tech
Take a 15-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy with equal interest and capabilities for tech careers. The girl will be surrounded by images that tell her “hey, tech isn’t for people like you.” The girl will likely be discouraged from pursuing tech even though she’s just as interested and capable as the boys. That’s is a lack of equal access, although a more subtle form than just outright discrimination.
Having more women in tech now will mean more female tech leaders and more girls thinking, “hey, this is for me.” More people will be able to do what they want, and that’s a good thing.
5: Because we probably have a lack of innovation in certain (female oriented) sub-industries because there are fewer women in tech.
There are some products that, almost by definition, only women buy. Examples: breast pumps, pregnancy tests, ovulation tracking tools, etc. There are lots of other things that tend to be purchased more by women: fashion, baby / family related products, weddings, etc.
People are less likely to start a company in a sub-industry that has no relationship to them. Thus, with fewer women in tech, the tech world will make much less of an impact on those fields. In others, innovations that could be happening probably aren’t.
6: Because women may think, act, or approach problems differently.
Women and men think differently on average. I can’t say what of that is cultural and what is biological (and it doesn’t really matter for the purposes of this argument), but they do, currently, think differently on average. For example, women tend to be more emotionally sensitive and more empathetic. Women are also more design-focused on average.
Having a company made up of people who approach problems in different ways is good. For example, the woman on your team might be more likely to draw out the opinions of the quiet people.
Diversity of thought is good for business!
7: The Internet is the largest recording of human history ever built
Right now, the architecture for that platform is being built disproportionally by white and Asian males. You’ve heard the phrase “he who writes history makes history”? We don’t yet know how this will affect future generations.
How can architecture be decidedly male? I like to refer to the anecdotal story of the Apple Store glass stairs. While visually appealing one unforeseen consequence to their design was the large groups of strange men that spend hours each day sitting under them looking up. As a women, the first time I saw them I thought “thank god I’m not wearing a skirt today.” Such considerations were not taken in designing these stairs. I think it’s probable, if not easily predictable, that in a few years we will see such holes in the design of the web.