co-founder Hadi Partovi speaks at the 2013 GeekWire Summit. co-founder Hadi Partovi speaks at the 2013 GeekWire Summit.

Why aren’t there more women working in technology?

That’s likely one of the most highly-debated questions in today’s tech world, and the discussions heated up again last week after Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham was interviewed — and later we found out, misquoted — by The Information.

Now Hadi Partovi, longtime entrepreneur and co-founder of Seattle-based non-profit, is chiming in with his two cents on the matter.

In a blog post published today, Partovi outlines the “real reason there aren’t more women in tech.” He lists three problems:

  1. Computer science is not taught in U.S. schools
  2. As an elective, it doesn’t contribute to graduation requirements
  3. The nerd stereotype is proven to drive away women

Partovi notes that it was actually different three decades ago, when young women earned 37 percent of computer science degrees, compared to 18 percent today.

“Computer science is for every 21st century student,” Partovi writes. “How do we start making that a reality? Simple. Teach it in our schools. Show girls that other girls are trying it too.” recently reached 10 million students last month — half of them girls — with its “Hour of Code” movement that encouraged kids to spend one hour learning how to code.

Partovi founded with his brother, Ali, in an effort to help expand computer science education. Here’s Hadi Partovi talking about and the computer science education crisis in the U.S. at the 2013 GeekWire Summit:

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  • Michael Hazell

    This “nerd” stereotype (along with “geeks”) is also the reason why some nice, geeky guys get friend-zoned.

    • Mel Linnemeyer

      I get your point, Michael. I know you said “Some;” speaking for myself, and recognizing this in many of my female and male friends, the “nerd” stereotype isn’t always a bad thing. Someone will take you out of that friend-zone and tell you to talk nerdy to them soon enough. ;)

    • Guest

      Well…true, but there’s also some pretty ogre like geeks (both male and female) that just need a shave and shower to bypass the friend-zone. I’ve worked with some of them. To the nerds and geeks in the friend-zone, shave and shower and hit up Comicon.

  • Nat’l Math + Science

    NMSI absolutely agrees! As the author said,
    change needs to happen if we’re going to close the gender gap in STEM, and it
    starts by supporting the girls in our classrooms.

  • Marie E. Pollnow

    Why are we talking about this in 2014? I am confused.

  • Pam

    Forgive me for going all ironic here, but it’s possible there aren’t more women in tech because look, here’s yet another dude telling us why we’re not in tech. Nothing makes us girls feel more welcome than a dude telling us how break that glass ceiling Okay, snark aside…

    I have my own theories — the culture of work first at the expense of all else, internally competitive review systems (thankfully fading) that require you throw your co-workers under the bus, rhetoric about work/life balance that’s rhetoric only, unimaginatively literal hiring practices, high tech companies who build mobile systems that require workers onsite… that’s just a few reasons.

    From a woman in tech who’s stayed contract rather than taking a staff gig precisely because of those reasons.

  • sue

    I met a lady at a conference who went into tech a little later in life, my guess on her age now is about 45. She talked about how hard it has been, the guys would help each other with learning, but not her. She took formal classes after work hours as a single mom. -I heard this exact treatment from a somewhat famous woman in a male industry – (don’t want to publish without permission) Even after all the training, she was still treated like she was less. I think she is doing better now, because she has years of experience and knocks them out the park, knowledge is way above peers. This tells me why women in tech are declining. Women get tired of this domination baloney, they just go take care of business somewhere else. Another conference i attended told women to go where they are celebrated, not tolerated. let the businesses that want them profit from them. – Makes a lot of sense to me
    The points in this article do have truth, but I also think its a combo of many things. Before there was tech, there was construction. Construction required no education and paid high. SOME single moms who needed more pay did construction, it’s not like some huge influx of women came in. The Men they worked with hated them. Did same things as my examples above just adjusted for environment. You have to train your son’s to think of women as equal people, against the odds in a world that doesn’t believe it. While there are a lot of great men who truly want women in tech, its dominated by males so theres going to be a good number of men who don’t respect women. If it pays high it’s dominated by men. There are careers that are dominated by women until you get to the high pay levels, BAM instant 180, males dominate those titles in the same career path, how is that happening???

    • Guest

      the high pay levels are typically controlled by what is referred to as ‘the good old boys club’. I refer to them as ‘rich cranky old men’. Until those guys physically die, that’s basically going to be the control structure of the pay scale.

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