As a method for combating years of declining numbers for women in computer fields, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg argues that women need to be more assertive in pursuing technology careers. In 2012, women held just 26 percent of the jobs in computer-related occupations, a decrease from 30 percent in 2000, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology. "Women must find a way to ask for what they want without being perceived in a negative way," says Black Duck Software vice president Tammi Pirri. There are many theories about why women and girls are not considering technology-related training, with some experts arguing that culture plays a major role.
However, the cultural message might be shifting, according to SAP vice president Karie Willyard. For example, she notes Lego's efforts to expose girls to engineering. "Perhaps men are choosing to be more focused on linear career paths, while women are sometimes choosing to be more curious, and more patient, seeking rewards and recognition in different ways — perhaps seeking to influence the future of an organization more broadly than a man might," says Johns Hopkins Health System senior vice president Stephanie Reel.
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