Jeffrey Zeldman Presents : Women in web design: just the stats
So An Event Apart commissioned a fact-finding mission. We hired researchers at The New York Public Library to find out everything that is actually known about the percentage of women in our field, and their positions relative to their male colleagues.
Jeffrey Zeldman combines my two favorite things – tech and libraries! The results of the research done by the NYPL, though, are not among my favorite things. I knew I didnâ€™t see a lot of females at the various â€œtechieâ€ conferences Iâ€™ve been to, but this is ridiculous! (This has actually been a bonus for me in the past – I generally donâ€™t have to share a room when I go to these conferences, Iâ€™m the only woman from my organization who is goingâ€¦).
One of the most unpleasant facts that the researchers found is that, â€œThe percentage of women employed in the field is declining instead of growing.â€ – this is not a good trend! Iâ€™m not sure what the solution is to this – more â€œmentoringâ€ programs, more female-focused â€œtracksâ€ at conferences (though what that would involve is beyond me – us girls are pretty diverse and hard to pin downâ€¦), more female-based webby organizations? These are all possibilities – and some of them exist. I know of a group of women who focus on PHP (PHPWomen), but it doesnâ€™t seem to be particularly busy or focused. There was a push a while back to get more women presenting at tech conferences – if other women see that there are female presenters, they may be more inclined to attend these conferences – but that seems to have died off a bit.
I donâ€™t know what the answer to the declining rates of women (and their prospects) in the web fields might be, but I do know that women can bring a lot to the â€œtableâ€, so to speak, and that without the unique perspective of the female brain, the web professions will be worse off.