Bridging the Gap: Women and STEM at Holy Cross and in the Workplace

Sammy Gjeltema

Staff Writer

Being a female computer science major at Holy Cross, I hear all the time, “Oh, you’ll totally get a job because you’re a girl.” Gender equality, a common buzz phrase of the modern 21st century has become especially relevant in the workplace; specifically, the tech world. For decades, the tech field has been flooded with an abundance of testosterone. The male-dominated field has been thirsty for females as of late.

As Silicon Valley and other technology companies expand their horizons towards hiring more females, more and more sexual harassment cases have endured. Dick Costolo, the former CEO of Twitter, says, “In just the last 48 hours, I’ve spoken to a female tech executive who was grabbed by a male CEO at a large event and another female executive who was asked to interview at a venture fund because they ‘feel like they need to hire a woman’”(Bowles). Although instances of sexual harassment are by no means taking place in the technology field alone, the male-dominated work environment proves to be a numbers game with a ratio favoring men and a limited number of women.

On the other hand, men in the workplace are feeling that they are now being discriminated against for being males, while women in high-ranking positions allegedly do anything in their power to hire more women in roles of power. Numerous companies, including Yahoo, are now facing class action lawsuits that accuse them of discriminating against males.

 

Silicon Valley has largely been considered the most hostile working environment for females, but why? Well, individuals like Mr. Damore, a Google engineer, suggest that females are not wired the same way as males and are therefore less biologically inclined to excel in engineering. Using an argument similar to that of navy seals to defend prohibiting women since they are biologically and physically built differently than men, Mr. Damore argues that women are biologically and intellectually unfit to engineer. Google fired him for his comment. This, however, received much backlash and sparked a debate about hiring women in tech positions simply to promote diversity and not because they are fully qualified.  

While there have been attempts to scientifically prove Damore’s point, the war on gender remains ever prevalent. Does promoting diversity in the workplace actually improve and bolster work efficiency and success? There has yet to be any truly compelling evidence to support such a claim, but perhaps the question at hand is not gender-specific rights, but human rights in general. If both men and women are allegedly being discriminated against, wouldn’t the two cancel each other out, making the claims null and void? I, for one, am sick of people telling me I will only get hired because I am a female and discrediting my knowledge about a subject, rather than supporting and fostering my affinity towards STEM. For a society that appears to cater to a patriarchy, it is hard to find a compelling argument to support the perils and plight of being male in a male-dominated atmosphere.

 

Article referenced: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/23/technology/silicon-valley-men-backlash-gender-scandals.html?rref=collection/sectioncollection/technology&action=click&contentCollection=technology&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront

 

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