Q&A at the University of Chicago

I was interviewed by the clever and talented Nora Sandler and enjoyed a lengthy Q&A (both formal and informal) afterward. I don’t believe the interview was recorded, but the follow-up email I sent to the group is below.

I just wanted to thank you for having me down to speak Thursday. I had a great time, and you all had such great questions for me. You’re all going to do amazing things, please make sure to keep me updated with your accomplishments!

I had mentioned I had gathered some (gender) diversity stats in case anyone had any numbers-based questions. I wanted to email them to you, but realized I hadn’t footnoted them with sources (since I thought I’d just be saying them out loud)

  • In 2003, 1/3 of women with a CS degree worked in CS (as compared to 2/3 of men)
  • 29% of the Stanford students declaring CS as their major last quarter were women. This is, tragically, a huge improvement.
  • Rate of attrition after 10 years for women in tech: 56% for men: 16%
  • This is despite 74% of women reporting that they love what they do
  • Women in tech earn $0.87 for every $1 that men in tech earn
  • Women make up 24% of the industry but only 3% of OSS contributors
  • Of the 22 public tech companies worth over $6 billion, precisely zero have a woman running the show.

So I got these stats from all sorts of academic papers and various studies that have been done in the aughts, but in case you’re looking for better sources than "trust me", here are a few links to the work of people well more qualified than I am to speak about such things.

  • Ashe Dryden is an author, researcher, and speaker regarding all forms of diversity in technology. While she’s spoken all over the world in the past few years, she was kind enough to post her slides from speaking at the Tampa Ruby Brigade, which are footnoted with sources for all of her stats.
  • Women in IT is a PDF published in 2010 full of stats as well as analysis from many sources, again all footnoted.
  • Julie Pagano (source of the wonderful "My Technology will be intersectional or it will be BULLSHIT" stickers) has compiled a list of "101" topics that she won’t discuss anymore, because so much has already been said about them that it’s not a good use of her resources. Lots of great links and explanations there.
  • The Geek Feminism Wiki gives a lot of context explaining why certain behaviors are bad, even if they might not seem so at first glance, as well as a timeline of incidents going back to 1973 which also helps with the context of how we got to where we are today

On top of all this I am totally kicking myself for not working in that THE FIRST COMPILIER WAS MADE BY A WOMAN. Grace Hopper is basically my hero. Also she’s really funny. I hope you can forgive me for this one.

Anyway, thanks again for having me. Don’t forget to go do great things!