Women are notoriously underrepresented in tech fields for a variety of complicated reasons. Two women are trying to close that gap with a web service that helps moms find tech jobs that allow them to work remotely.
Wired ran a piece today on Katharine Zaleski and Milena Berry, two mothers who started a site called PowerToFly to solve some of these employment issues in tech spaces. Over 10,000 women have registered and applied for jobs since the site launched in August.
Zaleski and Berry say that part of the problem is lack of flexibility at major companies, which is an obvious concern for tons of other working mothers. According to Wired:
There have been plenty of studies showing that despite their move into the workplace over the last several decades, women still feel more pressure than their male counterparts to step back from work once they have children. One 2013 study by the Pew Research Center found that 51 percent of women said being a working mother made it harder to advance their careers, compared to 16 percent of fathers. That same study showed that 42 percent of mothers had reduced their work hours to care for family, while just 28 percent of fathers said the same.
Meanwhile, a recent study out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on why women leave the tech field found that one third of women surveyed left to tend to their families “because companies weren’t flexible enough to accommodate work-life concerns.”
Notably, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has objected to employees working remotely, stating that they’re “more collaborative and innovative when they’re together.” Zaleski says tech companies are still a little resistant to the idea.
“They want to deal with the issues internally,” she says, referring to issues of diversity in tech. “They’re very focused on setting up committees and talking about the issues, but they’re also very committed to having everyone in the office.”
Still, she says those businesses that are signing up with PowerToFly are already beginning to see results. The company, which vets applicants on behalf of businesses, receives an average of 14 applications per position.
The point is to offer more options. There’s also a corresponding app for this called PowerToFly Connect.
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