20140818-GenderGap-600x298.jpg

Silicon Valley should take a cue from symphony orchestras, argues a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle 

To Reduce Tech’s Gender Gap: Take a Cue from Orchestras

August 18, 2014

20140818-GenderGap-600x298.jpg

Silicon Valley should take a cue from symphony orchestras, argues a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In 1970, fewer than 5 percent of top U.S. orchestras’ musicians were women. By 2003, more than a third of players were women. Blind auditions, which became the norm by the 1980s, made the difference. When auditioning musicians were hidden behind screens, many more women made the cut.

In the tech world—like orchestras of 40 years ago—a cultural bias suggests that women simply aren’t as good. Both male and female managers are twice as likely to choose a man over a woman for a mathematical job when given no information but gender and physical appearance.

A gender-blind initial interview could help more women get ahead in Silicon Valley, said ACSF faculty fellow Sara Pritchard, a technology historian:

Including names and explicitly stating gender shape how women scientists and engineers are perceived. For one, we tend to associate science and technology with characteristics also associated with men and masculinity. If people looking for engineers had HR take names off of resumes, female job candidates would probably be able to avoid some of that baggage.

Read more in the San Francisco Chronicle.