Growing up in biz/tech journalism and sports media means that the topic of women in the workplace has never been far from my mind. How many of us are there? How many is “enough" — is there such a thing? Are there really not enough qualified candidates? Is it true that women are just less interested in these fields (or less capable)? When we leave these coveted jobs, is it for the right reasons, or are we just being, you know, women … and confirming the reservations the world had about giving us the jobs in the first place?
At SXSW this past weekend, the debate continued, with specific focus on the tech world, from the launch of Sheryl Sandberg’s new book/movement, “Lean In," to discussions led by Ann Marie Slaughter (of The Atlantic’s "Why Women Still Can’t Have It All" fame), to events hosted by Change The Ratio and The List.
The confounding thing about these questions is that rather than ushering us closer to answers, the conversation frequently gets mired in debates over whether/why people are sexist and where the problem started in the first place, each side ever more entrenched in their own position. Exhausted by the back-and-forth, most end with some version of, “Well, it’s better than it used to be," or, “What are you going to do?"
My answer to that last question is take a look at what Etsy and Hacker School are doing. Putting aside philosophy and ideology for a moment, they’ve asked, “What are some specific, concrete, new steps we can take to change the composition of our workforce and workplace culture?" In reporting and writing this story for Fortune, I found the results fascinating and hope you will too — the applications for all of our industries are enormous.
Read the Fortune piece here: Wanted: More Women Coders at Etsy