Monique Morrow, CTO of New Frontiers and Engineering, was part of a team who edited a new book that is all about the technology landscape from the female perspective. Morrow edited The Internet of Women with co-editors Dean Nada Anid, PhD, Laurie Cantileno, and Rahilla Zafar. The piece is an excerpt authored by Bobbi Thomason Ph.D, Senior Fellow & Lecturer at The Wharton School, Research Fellow at Harvard's Women and Public Policy Program, who contributed to the book.
Today, there is a dearth of women working in and leading organizations in the technology industry. For example, a report by the American Association of University Women concluded that women made up just 26 percent of computing professionals in 2013, a substantially smaller proportion than 25 years ago and about the same percentage as in 1960. Women in engineering roles in the US are even less represented, making up 12 percent of working engineers.
This gap is a global phenomenon. In the U.K., women represent only 17.5 percent of computing professionals, and only 8.2 percent of engineers. In Israel, known for its thriving tech scene, women compose only 12 percent of PhD graduates in engineering and only 15 percent of professors in STEM subjects, according to Catalyst. The lack of women is particularly extreme at the highest echelons of our organizations. We are hard-pressed to find a country in the world where the percentage of women CEOs on a country’s stock market or among their largest companies is more than five percent (in many countries, the number is zero).
Today, there is a dearth of women working in and leading organizations in the technology industry. In observing this gap, many have set their focus only on the slow pace of progress. Women’s pay still lags nearly a decade behind, according to the World Economic Forum. And the outlook is gloomy: at current rates of change, the World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates it will be 118 years before women around the world can expect equal pay.
But there is also cause for optimism. Female scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians worldwide are breaking barriers and making incredible contributions to their fields, despite the odds. While parity across the board seems a distance away, the writings and case studies we have collected in this book document that there are exciting cultural shifts taking place around the globe. From Deemah AlYahya, the first female Saudi executive at Microsoft, to the impact of the UN’s emphasis on girls and technology education in the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) to the increased female labor force in Zambia, a policy change that was inspired by the MDGs (UN Millennial Development Goals), The Internet of Women captures stunning examples of progress from around the world.
The book highlights global trends that are disrupting the status quo, such as the Arab world’s rapid rate of Internet penetration, exceeding many other emerging economies or its Edraak, a massive open online course (MOOC) platform that has reached hundreds of thousands of users (half of whom being women) across the region.
Our authors tackle the immense question of what a global, inclusive movement to gender equality looks like, within and across our national borders, sharing numerous examples of how change is being ignited around the world. Michelle Lee, the first female Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), reflects on her Girl Scout badge in sewing and cooking and how it inspired her to create an IP badge that exposes young women to innovation and the process of invention at an early age. Malala Fund co-founder Shiza Shahid shares her background of mentoring young women in Pakistan and how she’s now working to direct more investment to women innovators around the globe.
The stories collected in the book provide readers with a narrative about the state of women in today’s digital economy, providing case studies, personal accounts, and solutions for moving this Internet of Women from awareness to practice.