It’s no secret that the tech and startup scene here in Utah, and throughout the country, is predominantly controlled by males. While there are many organizations — such as Lean In, which was founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg — that have committed to assist women by offering support and inspiration to help them achieve their goals, as a society, and more specifically, as a tech community, there’s still a lot more work to be done.
So, what’s the plan? How can we solve this problem of inequality and gender bias within the tech community here in Utah?
“I wish there was a really good plan,” said Sara Dansie Jones, co-Founder of the Women Tech Council and CEO and Founder at KōDefy, in a phone interview with Beehive Startups. “The challenge is we have to change an entire culture that’s existed for so long. It’s going to take some time.”
Is it possible the Utah State Office of Education is only exacerbating the problem? Consider this document, obtained by Beehive Startups, that is handed out to Utah children to help them choose a college and career path:
Young girls in Utah, who may be interested in pursuing a career in technology, are exposed to the words “nontraditional for females” under the headline “Programming / Software Development is:” on a document designed to help children pick an area of study.
In our interview, Jones recalled bringing the phrase “nontraditional for females” to the attention of the directors of the Utah Career Technology Education department.
“I raised my hand in front of the CTE directors and said, ‘Do we really need it to say nontraditional for females?’ They were like, ‘Oh, I didn’t even notice that was on there.’ That’s the problem right there. It’s just a complete lack of awareness.
By Clint Betts, Beehive Startups