Do female mayors encourage tech diversity?

Photo from John Lim/Flickr Commons

Last week, Facebook joined Google, LinkedIn and Yahoo in revealing the lack of diversity and gender gap in the tech workforce. That gap applies to the entire industry, according to a recent analysis, and the lack of female leadership — in and out of the tech industry — plays an important role.

According to an RJMetrics analysis of Census and Meetup data from the 50 largest U.S. cities, women make up 29 percent of the tech community. But the analysis also found that the top two cities with the highest percentages of women in tech — Las Vegas with 65 percent and Oakland with 47 percent — also had female mayors. Further analysis revealed a positive correlation between female mayors and women in tech, although cities with female Meetup leaders did not exhibit the same correlation.

The analysis echoes a study from MIT that found that Indian villages with female leaders exhibited a smaller educational and societal gender gap than villages with male leaders. The study attributed the difference to a role model effect.

U.S. women in tech, especially women of color, have few role models to look to when carving career paths. In companies like Google, 21 percent of all leaders are women. Less than 4 percent of Google's leaders, whether male or female, are Black or Latino. The percentages are similar at Facebook, LinkedIn and Yahoo.

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Posted Date: 
Monday, June 30, 2014 - 12:00am
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Christine Killion