Mayer Changes Camps...
I was thrilled to discover that one of my favorite women in technology, Marissa Mayer, whose career at Google I have eagerly tracked, was making a major career change. Mayer will now take-up the reins as CEO of Yahoo.com. A momentous move after 13-odd years at Google in various roles ranging from their first female engineer to Vice President of Local, Maps, and Location Services. Not only does Mayer hold advanced degrees in computer science from Stanford, but she was also granted an honorary doctorate for her work in the field of search and artificial intelligence.
Now the Caveat... Motherhood
Why, despite all of these accolades and accomplishments did a fairly reputable tech source, choose to focus on the fact that Mayer is pregnant? Women are rare in the field of technology for a wide variety of reasons ranging from research showing that young-women opt-out and under-perform in STEM subjects in mixed-sex classrooms, to a lack of role models in the field. Check-out this EdLab seminar from Beverly Park Woolf for more on the neuroscience behind classroom performance behavior.
Can Women Really Have-it-All?
Is it possible for a woman to be an accomplished technologist, leader and successful mother? A recent Atlantic article details why Anne-Marie Slaughter, the previous director of policy planning for the U.S. State Department and Professor of Politics & International Affairs at Princeton University, had to "drop-out" of her prestigious job in Washington to return home to "be a mother" to her two sons. This example is one of many, however there is a notable women in tech, Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, who seems to manage this work-life balance and insists on leaving at 5:30 every day to be with her family. Do you think this balance is elusive for most women? And if so, does this issue contribute to the lack of women electing to enter or pursue STEM subjects and the field of computer science? How can we help to change this through education?