Sheryl Sandberg's 'Lean In' Spotlights Shortage of Women in Top Tech Spots

Silicon Valley Trails Wall Street in Diversity

Men Only: Sheryl Sandberg offers plenty of advice for women in corporate America. Why is Silicon Valley even more of  a male preserve than Wall Street?
getty images
Men Only: Sheryl Sandberg offers plenty of advice for women in corporate America. Why is Silicon Valley even more of a male preserve than Wall Street?

By Reuters

Published March 09, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg is taking a drubbing for prescribing from a privileged perch the keys to female success in her upcoming book “Lean In,” but she’s struck a chord among many in her backyard.

In her own technology sector, women remain woefully underrepresented in leadership roles, even more so than in fields generally considered heavily male-dominated like financial services. Sandberg’s willingness to tackle the issue of women and leadership is drawing plaudits from many in Silicon Valley.

“She is bringing a topic forward that a lot of people want to talk about,” says Blair Christie, chief marketing officer at networking company Cisco Systems. “It doesn’t matter what side of the debate you’re on.”

Sandy Kurtzig - one of the first women founders to take a company through an initial public offering when her software company, Ask, listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1981 - brushes aside the criticism that Sandberg is speaking from heights unattainable for most women.

“To put herself out there is how she’s chosen to contribute,” says Kurtzig. “You need more role models.”

Of all the top executives working for a Standard & Poor’s 500, midcap or smallcap indices technology company for at least a year during the decade ended in 2009, just 5.5 percent were women, says George-Levi Gayle, an associate professor of economics at Washington University in St. Louis specializing in gender and pay issues in the workplace. The data is the most recent available; other studies on women in the workplace tend to include technology in the “services” category, which includes other unrelated fields.

Technology’s 5.5 percent compares to 5.9 percent for financial services, 6.8 percent for industrials, and 8.1 percent for consumer goods. Sectors that did worse than technology when it comes to women leaders included health care, materials companies, and energy companies, according to Gayle’s data.

He blames the underrepresentation on the low number of women majoring in engineering and computer science. Just 13.3 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in computer science, computer engineering, or information go to women, according to the Computing Research Association, a trade group. That represents a decline from 17.5 percent 10 years ago, according to the most comparable data from the CRA.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • What do a Southern staple like okra and an Israeli favorite like tahini have in common? New Orleans chef Alon Shaya brings sabra tastes to the Big Easy.
  • The Cossacks were a feature in every European Jewish kid's worst nightmare. Tuvia Tenenbom went looking for the real-life variety in Ukraine — but you won't believe what he found. http://forward.com/articles/202181/my-hunt-for-the-cossacks-in-ukraine/?
  • French Jews were stunned when an anti-Israel mob besieged a synagogue outside Paris. What happened next could be a historic turning point.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.