SAN JOSE, CA: Over the years, while the gender gap in technology has received a lot of attention, overall ratios of women to men in the field, both in the work force and in engineering education, remain abysmal. One example of this was available at the opening session of Hadoop Summit 2016 held from June 28-30 in San Jose. On a stage full of almost 100 “Hadoop Commiters ” (people who consistently upload and approve Open Source code), there were only two girls.
During the Women in Big Data (WIBD) event as part of the Hadoop Summit, this was exactly the topic of discussion. The panel discussed ways to attract and retain women in technology fields, particularly in the domain of Big Data. Speakers on panel ranged from a C-level executive to a High School student. The panelists were Ingrid Burton – CMO (Hortonworks), Cornelia Davis – CTO Transformation Practice (Pivotal), Jayshree Athma – Director Engineering Windows OS Division (Intel), Alice Adelman – Escalations Audits & Resolution Specialist (Zenefits), and Manasi Maheshwari – Engineering Intern (Hortonworks).
Manasi Maheshwari, an American High School student doing internship at Hortonworks was very articulate about what worked for her and what can be done to attract more girls to technology. She said, “If you want girls to be interested in Computer Science (CS), get them early and get them in group. If you combine having fun with friends and CS, they will likely be much more receptive”.
Manasi teaches coding to young girls at her local middle school and high school and has seen the incredible change that exposure can cause. Just 10 weeks after beginning to learn basic Python coding, she finds girls much more excited and gravitating towards computer science. “Whether or not girls choose a career in computer science, knowing how to code will help them succeed in any field.
One of the best things about CS is how applicable it is to whatever they want to pursue, be it business, art, or anything else”, says Manasi.
As more girls develop an interest at a young age, the gender gap is on the road to decreasing, and the glass ceiling that discourages women from pursuing technology can finally break, or at least be cracked open.
India Post News Service