Marissa Mayer Just Ignores the Question

by Violet Blue on December 26, 2010

Model Tati Cotliar

A lot of people seemed to think the points made in 2010: The Year Of Whining About Women In Tech (zdnet.com) were very important.

It’s really too bad the article was published before an industry friend sent me Marissa Mayer: Girls Can Be Geeks Too (newsweek.com). Newsweek asks one of the highest-up, highest profile women in technology why she thinks there are so few women working in the technology industry. This is her answer as to why there are more men than women in her little corner of tech:

“Well, it’s something that I care a lot about changing … I guess I was very lucky. I was always good at math and science, and I never realized that that was unusual or somehow undesirable. So one of the things I care a lot about is helping to remove that stigma, to show girls that you can be feminine, you can like the things that girls like, but you can also be really good at technology. You can be really good at building things.”

Now we know why. Any questions?

Image from Tati Cotliar for Exit F/W 2010 by Benny Horne.

Violet Blue

The London Times named Violet Blue "One of the 40 bloggers who really count" and Self Magazine named TinyNibbles one of the “Best Sex Resources for Women.” Blue is an autodidact and pundit on sex and technology, hacking and security, porn for women, privacy and bleeding-edge tech culture. She is a journalist for ZDNet, CBS News, CNET; she's an educator, speaker, crisis counselor, volunteer NGO trainer, and the author and editor of over 40 award-winning books.

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{ 4 comments }

1 grace January 1, 2011 at 9:16 am

oh i just read your zdnet article, and it rang through my being. it cut the issue in a new tangible way for me.

2 grace January 1, 2011 at 9:02 am

this article makes me so mad for more than the vague answer to a real question.

so much of this publicity laced with positive discrimination are huff-and-puff!

as is widely known, the interview process for google is a prolonged and tedious one, supposedly for good reason. i’ve had 3 interviews there spanning 8 months time, involving something to the tune of 15 males and 0 females interviewing me in an aggressive manner that to this day, is unmatched in comparison amongst my “wealth” of male colleagues.

to top of that, to state ever-so-publicly to never have felt a gender-biased obstacle is an ridiculous and incredulous insult to those who HAVE and still do at every stage in their technical career.

even saying these things don’t exist ill-prepare young ones from dealing with those obstacles in the future.

3 Conflicted Monogamist December 30, 2010 at 10:43 pm

I’m going to read between the lines and venture a guess that her real honest answer would be along these lines:

“There aren’t more women in tech because they don’t want to be, no matter what incentives we’ve thrown at them. They don’t want to be in tech for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that to have an interest in tech makes you an undesirable geek. This will only change if young girls are raised not to believe that tech is the place where all the social misfits are.”

Of course, possibly a better person to ask about why more women aren’t in tech would be one of the many women who *aren’t* already in tech, rather than one who is. The last time I did (which was admittedly years ago), she was a former CS major who dropped out from a sense that outsourcing and comoditization made the field a doomed career choice, and yes, an alienating one.

4 violet December 27, 2010 at 7:06 pm

I mean, seriously. I’m now seeing this featured and no one’s pointing out that she didn’t answer the question – and that’s a glaring thing.

So now we know why there are few little girls in tech. This answer makes her look dated, it’s like a generation old.

So now can she tell us why there are few women in tech? Grown, adult women, who want to be in tech now? Why so few women in her own company? What about them? Or all the women in tech who want to work for her company? Or all the women – hundreds, thousands, more – who want to thrive in tech and innovate outside Google?

Can we ask her again, now that she’s told us how to raise female children?

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