Twitter Names First Female Board Member As Tech Industry Sees Gender Shift

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Twitter has finally made a bold move (bold for the male-dominated tech arena) and appointed its first female board member, reports The San Jose Mercury News.

It is adding Marjorie Scardino, the former chief executive of education publishing giant Pearson, to its board. The company pushed ahead with its decision just before its initial public offering and amid criticism of its corporate governance. Scardino, who holds a law degree from the University of San Francisco, previously sat on the board of a major technology company.

But outspoken Silicon Valley critic and technology entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa, Stanford professor and Singularity University vice president, says more women need to be on tech boards.

Just prior to Twitter going public with its announcement, Wadhwa told Inc, “Why is it that Twitter board can have two college drops outs, a French literature major, a psychology major, a bunch of MBA, just regular guys. When it comes to women it has to be a Madeline Albright, Hillary Clinton….and then they say there aren’t enough women in tech and that’s why we can hire then. But excuse me, this French literature major and these college dropouts don’t have any tech degree…why is it that the standards are higher from women than they are for men?”

But Wadhwa also said he had “no doubt” this will be change.

Wadhwa’s prediction seems to be coming to fruition not only with the Twitter announcement but also with a shift in the workforce at tech firms.  According to a new study, women are now the most popular tech hires. In fact, the tech industry added 39,900 jobs between January and September, and 60 percent of those positions went to women, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This is a welcome surprise as every other year of the past 10 years, men claimed a greater share of new tech jobs, found an analysis conducted by technology and engineering career hub Dice.

There is still much work to be done to increase diversity in the tech sector. “On the whole, female employees still hold just 31 percent of jobs in the industry, a figure that has changed little over the last 10 years. Women also continue to lag men in compensation,” reports Business Insider. For example, in computer and information systems positions women working full time make only about 80 cents for every dollar earned by men.

On a positive note, there is a new wave of female tech stars, including Yahoo CEO and ex-Googler Marissa Mayer, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, among others. But even Mayer has previously expressed frustration with the lack of women in computer science. She said she’d like to see the industry be “more encouraging and open to having women contribute to software in more significant numbers.”

There has also been more hiring in general by various tech companies and as a result more women have joined the ranks.

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