Who Runs the World? Tech-Smart Girls.
Forbes recently published the 2017 edition of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Not only is the list composed of impressive girl bosses, but is filled with powerful female tech moguls that are marking major milestones for women in IT. Despite the prominent role women play in the technology field, women are still the minority: they hold only 24% of computer science jobs (a 13% increase since 1995) and occupy about 11% of executive positions in Silicon Valley. Many of these women are on a mission to change that.
#3: Melinda Gates
Melinda Gates’ name tops the list as she remains “the most powerful woman in philanthropy” as the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. While the seventeen-year-old organization aims to enhance healthcare and reduce global poverty, Gates has recently set off to dedicate herself to a new issue of importance: inspiring more women to join the technology industry,and stay there. The Duke graduate, who holds both a computer science degree and MBA, recently took to LinkedIn to articulate her frustrations with the male-dominated tech industry. The column, titled “We’re sending our daughters into a workplace designed for our dads,” criticizes the male dominated field while vocalizing what it would mean to “build a 21st-century workplace that lives up to the promise of our 21st-century workforce.”
#10 Ginni Rometty
Though C-suite positions are still male dominated, the recent technology boom has contributed more and more female executives in leadership roles. Take Ginni Rometty, for instance, after graduating with honors from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and electrical engineering, Rometty joined IBM as a systems engineer. Today, she is president and CEO of the $79.9 billion dollar company. Rometty is dedicated to changing the patriarchal industry: IBM has published a framework titled, “Empowering Women’s Success in Technology: IBM’s Commitment to Inclusion” which addresses the critical challenge of developing and advancing women in technology.
#40 Jean Liu
Jean Lui is becoming a recognizable household name as she climbs towards the top of Forbes’ list. As a computer science graduate from Peking University with a Master’s degree in computer science from Harvard, Lui is making powerful moves as president of Didi Chuxing, China’s $50 billion ride share startup company. Despite business demands, though, Lui makes it a priority to advocate diverse work environments, especially for women. Earlier this year, she founded the DiDi Women’s Network to promote female employees, each year, the committee will select fifteen female employees to receive intensive tutoring from senior executives in order to gain insight and experience with management in the tech-field.
#80 Judy Faulkner
Though her name may not be instantly recognizable, this computer programmer is making powerful moves in the tech-industry. Since the 1979 launch of her company Epic Systems, a healthcare software company based in Madison, Wisconsin, she has worked hard to stay out of the limelight. She received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics alongside a master’s degree in computer science and, as of June 2017, is the richest self-made woman in tech. Her advice for those wanting to pursue a career in tech? Be nerdy. I was really glad Bill Gates came on the scene, she says, “he made being nerdy a good thing, not a bad thing.”
Local Opportunities for Women in IT
While female IT professionals are underrepresented industry-wide, over one-third of technology professionals in Kansas City are women “the second highest percentage of any major site” versus a nationwide average of only 25%. Additionally, Kansas City women earn, on average, more than their male counterparts in IT. Centriq Training believes this is not enough.
Similar to the efforts of women like Gates, Rometty, Liu and Faulkner, Centriq Training is committed to fair representation of women in the tech industry. We offer an accelerated, hands-on training program that takes individuals with little or no IT experience and gives them the coding or IT job skills to get started in a career in technology in just four months. Additionally, Centriq supports several local organizations in Kansas City that encourage women to pursue technology careers, such as Kansas City Women in Technology and Django Girls.