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Why There Are So Few Women in Tech

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Women with engineering or computer science degrees face a tricky career path at technology companies and often leave their jobs just as they near their career peaks, writes Digital Link founder Vinita Gupta.

The National Center for Women and Information Technology has found that women with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees often do not make it to the top of their career fields. Of the top 100 tech companies in 2008, women accounted for just six percent of chief executives. Of companies that raised venture capital in 2006, only seven percent were founded by women. In addition, only 18 percent of college graduates with computer science degrees in 2008 were women.

Fewer women in STEM fields has been attributed to a lack of female role models, less encouragement from parents and teachers, and the personal decision to start a family. But Gupta says confidence also is a critical factor for women in the technology industry, and can be traced to parents who unwittingly "retard the development of the confidence that girls need to master the critical thinking required in a rigorous math and science curriculum." She says women need that confidence when they enter the business world and must face a male-dominated conference room or boardroom.

From Bloomberg Businessweek
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