With the recent trial of Ellen Pao, I’ve been thinking a lot about women in the technology industry. There are many facets of this topic: sexual harassment, unequal pay, lack of female leadership, etc., but I’ve been considering the topic in terms of its portrayal in the media.
Sure Mashable and other sites dedicate entire news categories to the subject of women in technology and that’s great, but I think that in order to educate and make real change, the media is going to have to reach a different demographic: teenage girls. At a young age, girls should be taught to have a vested interest in science and technology, and they should view it as a reasonable career path. One way to do this is through the media.
Silicon Valley is a show on HBO that I don’t think is criticized enough for its lack of women. A show about technology and success in Silicon Valley featuring six male leads is not the sort of media that will make representation changes. One great example of media use is Google’s Made with Code. It frequently partners with celebrities that are popular among teenage girls in order to build awareness for its work motivating young girls to consider technology.
Teenage girls are obsessed with media: TV, social platforms, music, etc. I think there’s some responsibility here to incite change among the next generation of women and get them excited about technology. Imagine the impact of a show like Silicon Valley featuring six female leads, or at the very least, an equal number of male and female leads.
I’m sure creating these types of media is easier said than done, but I think it’s a major part of our responsibility as soon-to-be influential media makers if we want to see change in the male-dominated industry.