This debate, often (in my world) framed by anger and shock over the under-representation of women in technology, keeps popping up, like some sort of endless game of whack-a-mole.
A few years ago the pot was stirred by a speakers’ group who didn’t include a single woman on their roster of social media/tech thought leaders.
Last week, it was a startup incubator in Montreal that had 85 male members and not one woman listed as participants at launch.
I continue to be amazed at the “blissful ignorance” out there (that’s often how the resulting apologies are worded – the excuse that’s often given is that “women are hard to find” – here’s a helpful link for that one.) but honestly, I’m sick to death of the discussion. In fact, I think the discussion is all wrong, and if we want to get through the glass ceiling (or whatever you want to call this stubborn mindblock), I think it’s time to re-frame it.
The issue here is not boys vs. girls – it’s diversity. Study after study after study (and book after book, whitepaper after whitepaper) has shown that more diverse environments (that is, environments where there are not only really smart people, but really smart people with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints) are more innovative. Diverse environments get better results.
Logic would indicate that if you don’t think about all forms of diversity when you’re assembling your team/club/incubator/roster/advisory board, you are at a significant competitive disadvantage, especially in a space moving as fast as this one.
In other words: if you don’t think diversity is important, you are, frankly, an idiot.