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FCW : August 30, 2014
August 30, 2014 FCW.COM 17 She is also perturbed by the lack of visibility given to successful women and minori- ties in the industry, especially those at big tech companies. "Where are all the women we re hearing about --- the women who are entrepre- neurs, whose companies are IPOing for millions of dol- lars?" she asked. Say goodbye to 'bro' culture According to Wong, Silicon Valley s "bro" culture is nally drawing attention as diversity data starts to reveal the inner workings of the tech titans on the West Coast. In May, Google revealed that women make up only 17 percent of its technology staff. At GitHub, 6.25 percent of engineers are women. "They need to own the problem. We all need to own the problem," Wong said. "Men need to advocate and mentor as much as women do. We need to start putting it on the rest of our colleagues in this eld." The Obama administration and especially OSTP have been striving to engage more students in science, technol- ogy, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and level the playing eld for women. The 2014 Working Families Summit brought awareness to those issues. But Carnival said the government can really make an impact by investing in those areas. For example, initiatives at NSF and the National Institutes of Health sup- port research across the country on women and minorities in the workplace. The neuroscientist side of Carnival emerges as she explains the amount of work left to be done while relish- ing the challenge. "The fun part about our job and about science and tech- nology is not learning and repeating what someone else discovered but going through the scienti c process yourself and nding something new," she said. 'I don't shine if you don't shine' Despite their different paths to the White House, the women at OSTP are similar in one respect: None of them expected it to be easy. "I never grew up feeling as though I couldn t do something," Overmann said, "but I did grow up feeling like it was going to be harder for me to do different things." Yet something about this group of problem-solvers suggests that they wouldn t have been happy if it did come easy. That s why they all eagerly look forward to a future where women lead the way in STEM elds. Still, Wong said, ooding the pipeline and hoping for the best isn t a suf cient strategy to get more women into those elds. "I think we need to keep in mind it s a ght every day," Wong said. "It would be really easy to just sit back, but we can t take for granted that the numbers will take care of it. We have to build communities, and we have to work at creating equity." Most of those communities arise from strong mentor rela- tionships. In fact, Wong had to cut short her interview with FCW to head to a technology mentorship event. In a city where there is such emphasis on career status, the women at OSTP seem to disregard the competitiveness that would tear some of ces apart and keep co-workers from becoming friends. Meyer said she sees the shine theory --- "I don t shine if you don t shine" --- in action at OSTP. "Why I love working at OSTP is because it s a strong community of women who look for those sorts of oppor- tunities --- not just to increase the female representation, but to also make sure we have minorities and different perspectives represented," she added. The onetime boys club culture of OSTP has all but dis- appeared. The women on the team pride themselves on lifting each other up. With Park as their cheerleader --- and anyone who has heard him speak can attest to his enthu- siasm --- it s all but inevitable they will continue to do so. "It s been my experience in both the private sector and public sector that teams that are diverse outperform teams that aren t," Park told FCW. "The dedicated women of OSTP are some of the most extraordinary people with whom I ve ever worked, and I feel incredibly fortunate that they are my teammates." ■ "People are making a lot of money in this industry, and if women don t get on that train, they are going to miss out." Vivian Graubard
September 15, 2014
August 15, 2014