The last few months have presented an interesting collection of experiences, which have reminded me how lucky I am. Wait…not lucky, that’s the story we women like to tell ourselves, deserving, yah that’s it. I recently attended the Churchill Women Execs in Tech Roundtable (#inspired) and heard some stats that truly shocked me regarding women in technology. This led me to some digging…here is what I found:

  • 11% of executives in Fortune 500 tech companies are women.
  • Women make up a mere 15-17% of Silicon Valley engineers.
  • The peak of women in Computer Science was in 1984 – 43%
    were women. Today it’s 18%, and declining.
  • Less than 20% of students earning Computer Science Degrees
    in the US are women. This number is also trending in the
    wrong direction. 

I’m a woman, with a CS degree, a C-level title, a little north of Silicon Valley – how could I be shocked? Then I looked around and realized I truly am lucky, because I work at a company that is leading the pack in % of women in engineering, management and executive roles of a technology company. These are stats I am proud to share with you:

46% of the Executive team  are women, this includes:

Alisa Barnes - VP, Program Management Office

Eve Chaurand - General Council, Ask US

Valerie Combs - VP, Communications

Angela Loeffler - SVP, People & Policy

Susan Shimamura - VP, Operations

Yours Truly

1 out of 3 of our Management team is female and women make up 25% of our technical staff. There are too many to call out individually but they are diverse, wicked smart and incredibly talented at what they do (see some of them below)

As I come across the inspiring interviews given recently by Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer and Rebekah Cox I am reminded that this is not the norm and that it is important to appreciate the culture we have created here, but more importantly to do my part in increasing the %s outside the walls of Ask.com.

Sheryl Sandberg encourages women to lean in and be ambitious. Others says it’s the system that needs fixing, not the women. I say why can’t we do both? The more women we have in critical roles, the more normal it will seem.

I was one of the few women in my CS program at UCSB and remember feeling outnumbered, intimidated and way, way, behind (compare my high school word processer #datingmyself with my classmates criminal hacking record).  I can relate to the literature on women suffering from imposter syndrome and can’t count the number of times I’ve been the only woman at the table.  I encourage women seeking careers in the tech industry to see it as a challenge, do what you love, and don’t let anything stand in your way.  Be the exception and know that you make it easier for the next woman to do the same. I hope in some small way, I will.

 

Some of our stellar female managers


Lisa Kavanaugh, Chief Product & Technology Officer