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If Women Don't Get More Interested in Tech They're Going to Get Left Behind

Illustration for article titled If Women Dont Get More Interested in Tech Theyre Going to Get Left Behind

In an interview with Mother Jones, Jen Pahlka — web guru, "rock-star" in the computer-gaming world and founder of Code for America — explains how technology can fix what's broken in American cities. But she also talks about a tech-oriented future in which women will need to step up:

MJ: How do we get more women into tech?

JP: I don't know. My friend Clay Johnson says in the next 50 to 100 years, you'll be considered illiterate if you can't program. My daughter is 9, and I have a 14-year-old niece, and I worry because they don't seem as attracted to technology as the boys. It could be something really basic: When there are more males in the industry to begin with, it just has a more male feel, and that pushes the girls away. There's a history there that's really hard to overcome.


When a "code warrior" doesn't know what to do, we have a serious problem.

By the by, here's a video of Pahlka giving a TED talk in March, explaining how she made working for the government feel innovative.


[Mother Jones, Code For America]

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I think this dovetails nicely with the Mad Men discussion right before it. We have the Peggy and the Joan methods. Peggy method, work hard, get ignored, keep working hard, get more ignored, get a little recognition, get ignored, keep working hard, break through somewhere else. Women could just keep chugging away at computer programming and engineering, get ignored by the male-dominated industry (last successful women-centric videogame? Anyone?) and wait it our. Joan method, work just as hard, but use your sex appeal to create a niche that you dominate. Get ignored for valuable contributions, be dismissed as just a woman, get judged for rumors of slutyness. I guess this would entail creating niche markets of women programming for women.

Mad men analogy complete.