Marissa Mayer is, without a doubt, one of the most influential women who has earned the “techie” title. As a proud geek, Mayer has spent the last twelve years at Google, with her most recent role as Google’s VP of Local allowing her to push the envelope for location-based smartphone apps and technology. Mayer isn’t just about innovating inside of Google, however. She’s also taken multiple opportunities to discuss the importance of attracting women to the technologies field, how that can be done, and how the world is progressing toward that end.
In a recent interview with the Huffington Post for the “Women in Tech” series, Mayer distilled some of her thoughts into some basic points about women and the technologies field. Mayer has long been in the minority in tech, and when she first joined Google in 1999, she was the only female employee. Now, Silicon Valley – according to Mayer – has about a 15% to 17% female tech employee population.
The reason that, even today, women are such a minority in the field is because of the presentation of what being a “geek” really means. According to Mayer, “The number one most important thing we can do to increase the number of women in tech is to show a multiplicity of different role models,” rather than just the idea of a highly intelligent but socially inept recluse who spends his entire day playing World of Warcraft. “The stereotype of that very complete and rigid picture of what being a computer scientist means really hurts people’s understanding and ability to identify with the role,” stated Mayer.
Additionally, Mayer feels there will be a natural increase in appeal for women since computer sciences, via household computers, tablets, and smartphones, are becoming an increasing vital part of our everyday lives. “When you use those things every day, you become curious in terms of how they were made. [...] I think it will create a curiosity and spur a lot more women into computer science and the technical fields.”
[Sources include: The Huffington Post]