All-girl schooling helps tech success

(Last Updated On: June 19, 2014)

Attending an all-girls college can keep women on the technology track, a panel of women investors and executives said at Bloomberg’s Next Big Thing Summit in the United States.

The panelists at the Women & Tech Next Wave session in Sausalito said that being in a same-sex academic environment erased some of the stereotypes and stigmas that prevent girls from pursuing a passion for technology.

“It makes you realise how important it is to look at the environment we create in our schools,” said Bahija Jallal, who heads up MedImmune, a biotechnology company that was acquired by AstraZeneca.

Debate over the technology industry’s diversity has been fuelled by a recent report from Google that disclosed just 30 per cent of the world’s largest search engine’s 50,000 employees are women. Companies including Facebook, Twitter and Apple have also either faced investor pressure or criticism about the lack of women in key positions.

Last year, 74 per cent of US workers in computer and mathematical occupations were men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In software development, a fifth of the jobs were held by women.

In a blog post on May 28, Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, highlighted the lack of qualified female technology experts, citing a US Department of Education study that found women earn just 18 per cent of computer-science degrees in the US.

At the Bloomberg conference, Citigroup chief innovation officer Deborah Hopkins said she was struck by how few women-led ventures come to her for funding and added that there is plenty of talent for those who want to find it.



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