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Women in Tech Don't Get the Same Respect as Men, Survey Says

May 21, 2015

In this article on CNET, Terry Collins covers Mediaocean's research study on women in technology. This research, conducted with 3,000 respondants, showcases what Americans think of women in tech and how they believe the industry should change.

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by Terry Collins, CNET

A majority of Americans believe that women working in the tech industry don't receive the same level of respect as their male counterparts, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The online survey of 3,000 people also revealed that about 73 percent of Americans think having more women participating in technology would increase creativity and innovation. The survey was sponsored by Mediaocean, a New York-based advertising-tech firm founded in 2012.

On average, women make up about 30 percent of the workforce at tech companies, according to diversity reports published last year by 11 of the world's largest tech firms. In October, for example, Microsoft reported that women comprise 29.1 percent of its workforce but that only 16.6 percent work in technical positions and just 23 percent hold leadership roles. Twitter said women fill 10 percent of its technical jobs, with 21 percent in leadership. And women Googlers account for 17 percent of the search giant's tech jobs, while only 21 percent manage others.

In comparison, women make up 59 percent of the US labor force and almost 51 percent of the US population, according to the US Census Bureau.

Other findings from Mediaocean's survey include:

• About 40 percent of respondents believe technology companies have a hiring bias against women.
• Another 40 percent believe women are less interested in technology.
• At the same time, about 70 percent believe more women should study technology and the computer sciences in college.
• About 73 percent believe young girls should learn technology in elementary school.
• "Unfeminine" was how 17 percent described the technology field.
• And 77 percent described women in tech as "intelligent," 50 percent described them as "focused"and 47 percent consider them "creative."

"I've been in tech for 20 years," said Mediaocean CEO Bill Wise, "and it really struck me how there's a certain part of society that believe fields, including engineering, are so male-dominated."

Many of Mediaocean's findings back up findings reported in CNET's recent series on women in technology, "Solving for XX."

Mediaocean released the results of its study at the same time that it announced the awarding of three $25,000 scholarships to three female college students studying technology.

"Our goal is to engage women and help them acquire the skills necessary to be successful in this new era," said Maria Pousa, the company's senior vice president of marketing.