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2014-01-15    来源:fortunechina    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

作者: Poornima Vijayashanker  


Moore's law, which is really a conjecture, states that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles every two years. It is safe to presume that this doubling effect also doubles processor speeds, because having more transistors on a chip means faster processors.


However, you cannot just cram more transistors onto a chip in order to double its speed indefinitely. Computing speed is also based on things such as memory capacity and it is limited by factors such disk speed.


Just as you cannot cram more transistors onto a chip in order to double processor speeds indefinitely, you cannot expect that simply adding more women to engineering colleges and code academies will produce a Mark Zuckerberg, who will go on to build a billion-dollar company in roughly seven years. Even having women who have been hacking since they were teenagers isn't enough (and mind you these women do exist, I am one of them, and there are more than a handful of others in my generation).


Now if the goal is to produce a female version of Mark (or Steve, Jeff, Elon, etc.), and for the sake of argument I'll assume that this is a worthy cause, it's going to take change on many levels. Teaching women how to code isn't enough.


Change in Mindset


Please bear with me as I draw an analogy using history. In 1865 the U.S. government abolished slavery. While this was an achievement, it only afforded some level of economic freedom to African Americans. Nearly 85 years later they were still being treated as second-class citizens via segregation. It wasn't until the 1950s that segregation ended, and it wasn't until 2008 that we elected our first African American president. Doing the math it took 143 years before African American were supposedly on equal political footing!


Unfortunately, women weren't afforded the right to vote until 1920. Even after that, it wasn't until the late 1950s and 1960s that society valued educating women at the university level but, even then, entering the workforce and actually staying in it after marriage and having children was considered an anomaly; it was a sign of having limited financial means or social support.


Hence while freedom for women and minorities was proclaimed, the status quo was slow to change.


Actual change means having to vigilantly put forth practices to enable people to exercise their freedoms, and that requires a combination of education and social practices, which will eradicate social norms.


I'll be careful in stating that in Western societies, we finally believe in valuing education for women, but we now have to turn to social practices.


We can encourage women to participate and welcome them with open arms, but that won't undo the thousands of years of ongoing cross-cultural practices that reinforce a woman's primary role as a nurturer (and I am not just talking about nurturing children). To overcome this requires a constant and vigilant effort globally. What does this mean in practice? It means the following:


• Men supporting the notion that their female significant other can contribute as an equal partner financially or be the bread-winner of the household.

• 男性支持这种观点,即他们的女性另一半有能力作为平等的合伙人作出经济上的贡献,有能力养家糊口。

• Really leaving the choice of having children up to women. This requires eradicating the unspoken judgment passed on women who choose not to have children and truly having the right to choice.

• 把要不要孩子的选择权真正还给女性。这就要求消除对那些选择不要孩子的女性的非议,让她们真正获得生育的选择权。

• Really leaving the choice of taking care of elderly parents up to women. Longevity coupled with financial strain often mean that women are left to care for elderly parents and in-laws.

• 把是否照顾年迈双亲的选择权还给女性。女性相对长寿,经济压力也较大,这意味着她们往往不得不照顾年迈的双亲和公婆。

• Having supportive social and economic practices for those who do chose to have children and take care of aging family members, which will need to be reinforced by somebody such as companies or governments.

• 对那些选择要孩子及照顾家里老人的女性提供社会和经济支持,这需要各类企业和政府帮一把。

In theory, all of this exists today. I say in theory, because if they actually existed, why would we be still left wondering why women aren't more innovative wealth-creators a la Mark, Steve, Jeff, and Elon? Please tell me how this is possible without a sustained change in society's mindset towards women?!


However, as status quo goes there is a mixed message being sent to girls and women, and I will take liberty in saying that only girls and women will truly understand this because they experience it daily from young through adolescence and into adulthood: "Find the right partner by a certain age, because we are still controlled by biology, and nurture your children while still contributing to the family financially." Depending on your cultural background add, "Please don't forget about your obligations to your aging parents and in-laws."


I will also take liberty in saying that some, not all, but some people, who continue to reinforce and propagate this mixed message are an older generation of women, which sadly, often include our own mothers! I'm not saying it to place blame, but to merely point out who and what we face throughout our lives.


This is one of the factors that has led females to being bred and socially conditioned to seek stability, not risk. There is an inherent risk involved in first choosing to pursue engineering (being the minority in college) and then entrepreneurship (being financially unstable). Those of us who have chosen a risky path are merely anomalies (not a bad thing). The rest are waiting and watching to see how we will overcome the personal risk we've taken. Will we be castigated if we fail to build a billion-dollar company and innovative technology? Or will we feel like we missed out on motherhood? Or will we be able to balance both?


Meanwhile, it is still socially acceptable for men to focus wholeheartedly on their career.


Our expectation is for women to make the choice to innovate and create wealth, but everywhere women look from media to social practices and trends, all we see and hear that true happiness lies in finding a man and making babies.


Something has to give.


Because if you want to be a wealth-creator and billionaire like Oprah you may need to be childless. But if you want to be all: an innovator, a wealth-creator, and have children, then look to Marissa or Sheryl, who have chosen good partners and have high net worths…


I know there are female innovators who are also wealth-creators and even mothers, but the media hasn't chosen to consistently herald these women. Another mindset that needs to change.


Change in Behavior


As technologists we know that change in behavior takes time. However, there are some who are open to change, and we call those customers our early adopters. They are willing to put up with an early product that is unrefined and has a limited feature-set, because they have acute pains they need alleviated. They welcome a new product with open arms, and eventually become evangelists, supporting and promoting our vision. The same is true for women in technology today.


The women who are in technology understand the benefits to pursuing a career in it. We also have learned how to put up with mixed social messages we receive in exchange for freedom, flexibility, and the financial benefits. But it still takes an inordinate amount of self-confidence and wherewithal to stick around.


While we expect our products to become adopted by the mainstream within 5-7 years, we cannot expect the same timeline when it comes to social change.


However, we can apply the same practices of product adoption to building awareness and having women adopt a career in tech. Here are some of the practices:


• Education: Continuing to prioritize the importance of pursuing a major in engineering. This requires effort at the high school and college level plus support from parents. Coupled with an awareness of what it takes to receive investment from VCs and angels to build a company.

• 教育:继续强调选择工程专业的重要性。这需要高中和大学做好相应的工作,也需要父母的支持。同时还要清醒地认识到,要获得风投和天使的投资创建公司必须具备哪些条件。

• Product iteration: Continuing to refine the industry and making its value be known.

• 产品升级:不断完善所在行业并使之价值广为人知。

• Pricing: Offering scholarships or financial assistance to those who are particularly interested in pursuing degrees and careers within the industry. And funding female founders who want to launch tech companies.

• 定价:为那些对特定行业的学位和事业情有独钟的女性提供奖学金或经济资助。同时为那些想创建技术类公司的女性创始人提供资助。

• Customer support: Providing quality of service through mentorship and including programs to help those with and without families.

• 客户支持:通过导师辅导的方式提供高质量的服务,同时纳入那些能帮助有家室或无家室女性的项目。

• Case studies: Showcasing role models and success stories through mainstream media channels.

• 案例学习:通过主流媒体展示业内楷模和成功故事。

• Perseverance: We know it takes time to build a product, refine it through multiple iterations, build a company from it, and then transform that company into a business. The same is true when it comes to investing in human capital. We have to continue to work towards the end without necessarily knowing when the exit will happen.
• 坚持不懈:我们都知道,打造一个产品耗时费力,对它要多次升级才能不断完善,随后要基于它创建一个公司,最后才能把这个公司变成一种业务。对人力资本进行投资也是一样的道理。我们必须为了目标不断奋斗,但不一定知道什么时候才能开花结果。

So please, I beg of you, stop thinking and touting that the answer lies in merely teaching women how to code. It requires more than just that. For those of us who know how already know how to code, and have been doing since we were teenagers, we can attest to the daily internal battle we fight against the imposter syndrome, and the outward battle we fight against received mixed messages from everyone else.

所以,拜托了,别再老是想着并到处宣扬什么所谓的答案就是教会女性如何编程。要想改变现状要做的事还很多。对我们这些早就知道如何编程,并且从青少年时期就开始干这个的女性来说,我们每天都要和内心深处的“滥竽充数综合征”(imposter syndrome,一般译为“骗子综合征”,指一个有能力的人总觉得技不如人,觉得自己是骗子而等着被人识破的心理状态——译注)作斗争,同时还得和从周围大多数人那里听到的各种关于女性角色的说法作斗争。

Innovation takes a great amount of knowledge, effort, and focus. Focus can only come if there is a support structure around us to help facilitate it. If we are distracted by mixed messages, and a plethora of priorities, then it will be hard to expect for us to create products that improve human life and wealth.


The point of this post isn't to place blame, to single out anyone, or come up with excuses. It is merely to educate, and make the reader aware of the amount of effort that has to take place on an individual, social and global level if we really want to have parity of presence.


If you want to help and truly believe in the cause of having women in tech then educate, encourage and empower every day!


Finally, hope but please don't expect that all these efforts to yield a Mark, Jeff, Steve, or Elon by 2020, for it will only have been 100 years since we were given the right to vote in the US, we may still need an additional 43 years.


Poornima Vijayashanker is the founder and CEO of BizeeBee, a provider of membership management software for yoga studios and other fitness businesses. She also is an adjunct instructor at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering, and creator of the Femgineer site (where this post first appeared). She previously was a founding engineer at Mint.com (acquired by Intuit).


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