I’ve recently posted Video 2: Girls Go Geek? and Video 3: The Gender Gap Exists. This is Why. on YouTube as part of my 3 video series on The Gender Gap in Tech. I’ve produced these videos to highlight and start conversations about the lack of women pursuing and staying in STEM careers compared to men, and the lack of women in leadership roles within these companies.
After posting these videos, particularly #2, showing young girls and one boy preferring girl teachers/principals and enjoying science (Video 1: Girls Go Geek? shows young girls liking math), conversations began. Actually, the welcome responses received were from men, not women. Interesting.
Some of the comments were that children were mainly exposed only to women as teachers and principals since approximately 76 percent of public school teachers are female so this is what’s familar. Why do you think that’s the case? Another comment referred to the lack of female CEO’s beginning with behavior early in life- with peer pressure; “girls can be very catty and clubby and want to fit in” which means hiding one’s intelligence. Could that be a message that young girls receive from adults?
The National Foundation of Science states, “66 percent of fourth grade girls say they like math and science, but only 18 percent of all college engineering majors are female.” Girls get certain messages throughout their lives: to look beautiful, not to play rough and get dirty, math and science is for boys, girls don’t understand math and science, there are “more appropriate” careers for girls, girls raise children and take care of their families to name a few.
In “What Women Know About Leadership That Men Don’t” by Tony Schwartz he says, “For the most part, women, more than men, bring to leadership a more complete range of the qualities modern leaders need.” These qualities range from intellectual qualities to emotional ones. Studies show women rating higher than men on a range of leadership qualities, including honesty, intelligence, compassion, and creativity as performed by the Pew Research Center. But, women fill only 24 of senior executive positions in Fortune 500 companies.
Research presented at a Women 2.0 conference showed that women-led tech companies are more capital efficient and achieve 35 percent higher return on investment, and, when venture backed, bring in 12 percent higher revenue than male-owned tech companies. Women also run companies on two-thirds the funds of their male equivalents, yet receive only about 4 percent of venture funds. Does that make you go “Hmmmm?”
The number of women in tech is increasing, but ironically, as our world becomes more and more dependent on technology, the fewer numbers of females in STEM related careers may mean fewer females in the workplace in the United States.
In our 5 episode scripted dramedy web series NEXT premiering at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco on March 7, 2015 and on-line March 10, 2015 we break this gender gap barrier with a series written, directed, and produced by women about a female-led Silicon Valley tech start-up led by women!
Subscribe to this YouTube channel to view the web series on March 10th.
I interviewed a group of elementary school age girls on this video as it relates to my upcoming web series NEXT, a scripted dramedy in which I play the CEO, about a female led tech start-up in Silicon Valley on a corporate retreat where they must give up all their electronic gadgets and be left to their own devices.
Gender inequality in tech held positions is common and is due to a multitude of reasons. The video conveys the young girls’ love for math, but due in large part to sociological stereotypes, wavers as she ages.
Girls do just as well as boys in math throughout school. A few explanations for the ebb in a girl’s interest level are “math anxiety” which can be passed on to female students from female teachers, parents, peers, and media. The “nerd factor” associated with math and science at a time in a girls’ development when she is surrounded with images of cool, sexy, and attractive women being complimented for their appearance. And, girls are still being directed away from technology into “more appropriate” careers by relatives, teachers, and parents.
The Department of Commerce says that women fill about 50 percent of all jobs in the U.S. economy, but actually hold less than 25 percent of STEM positions (science, technology, engineering and math). Again, there are many reasons for this, but I believe it all begins with our young girls.
It is imperative that we encourage young girls to follow their interests in STEM related fields while providing them exposure to these areas. Our world is ever more dependent on technology and needs the contribution from all great minds. That’s why organizations like Goldieblox, Women2.0, and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender Equality in Media among others are so important.
Please subscribe to my YouTube Channel and ‘thumbs up’ this video! Then share it. It’s an important message.
While currently in the throws of post production of NEXT, the Webseries, I receive an email from Anne Doherty, Artistic Director, Writer, and Composer of The New Musical Theatre in SF http://www.sftheaterdistrict.org/?page_id=1018 saying, “I thought Goat was one of the best shows I saw in ’13. I was wondering if the cast was interested in doing it again? ” Wow!
I co-produced and acted in The Goat or, Who is Sylvia by Edward Albee a year ago. I’m honored and blown away that someone like Anne Doherty is still thinking about the production, a year later, and wants to help get it back on the stage!!!
Creating work that communicates in some way with people, is what I love about acting so much. It’s the best feeling in the world as an artist to ‘speak’ and connect with people on any level. Of course, I believe Monday Afternoon Productions’ (MAP) staging of The Goat was fabulous, but I never thought anyone would be thinking about it over a year later while wanting to help get it produced again. Great great feeling!!!
I’m confident that NEXT, the webseries will also connect with people in the same manner. We at Monday Afternoon Productions believe our story line about women, and women of a certain age, creating and running a start up tech company in Silicon Valley with it’s intrinsic ‘trials and tribulations’ is an important, untold story. AND, this series has been created, produced, and directed by women which is an uncommon occurrence in the entertainment business.
You never know when and how you end up ‘speaking’ to someone. I think what we can control is ‘speaking’ from the heart which will surely resonate somewhere.
ALMOST done with filming the first season of NEXT, the Webseries!! What a fabulous, energizing, frustrating, fun, creative, tiring, inspiring, educational process/experience! Phew! I think it’s good that I didn’t know much about producing a series before I went in to this because, well, I’m not sure I would have done it. Don’t get me wrong…I’m thrilled I’ve done this and I think it is going to be a really good series, but there is a whole lot I don’t know about producing.
There’s getting the idea off the ground, getting a script, raising money, hiring cast and crew, organizing everything, feeding people, finding locations, working out schedules, keeping schedules on time, wardrobe, make-up, continuity, handling problems and safety just to mention a few categories. For us, most has gone smoothly, thankfully. We have an incredibly good crew and a very talented cast for which I and my co-producers Anne Hallinan and Lisa Marie Newton are forever grateful. It really is about picking the right people to work with and delegating!
We have one more day of filming then the editing begins. We plan to have a premier showing of our first episode in November, 2014 at The Castro Theatre in San Francisco, CA. Stay tuned for more details. I can’t wait to see it!!!
Generous: showing a readiness to give more of something than expected, to be kind. Well, I am blown away by people’s generosity regarding my kickstarter campaign for my webseries NEXT. http://kck.st/1oXA7gm Truly, I’m so appreciative of the people that have donated their hard earned cash or their much needed free time to help me achieve a goal. There have been many…close and not so close friends who have contributed.
And yet, UGH, I find myself saddened by those I thought for sure would help, but haven’t. I feel so selfish and embarrassed feeling AND writing this. The very definition of generous is giving more than expected. What right do I have to expect more from people? I believe, when one places expectations on others, it’s a sure way to be let down because these expectations are personal and subjective. Not everyone ‘works’ under the same assumptions.
One woman, with whom I’m not that friendly donated a large sum and when I thanked her she said, “friends help friends”. Wow! People are amazing! I’m always surprised by the kindness people possess. Often people give when they have little to give, but just want to help. I will remember this when I get the proverbial stick up my “#$%^@&”.
THANK YOU to everyone that has donated so far. You are greatly appreciated.