CES 2012: Highlights from CNET's Women in Tech panel at CES
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CES 2012: Highlights from CNET's Women in Tech panel at CES

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At CES 2012 in Las Vegas, CNET Executive Editor Molly Wood talks to Lindsey Turrentine, editor-in-chief of CNET Reviews, Google Vice President Marissa Mayer, Flickr founder Catarina Fake, and Cisco Systems Chief Technology Officer Padmasree Warrior about how to recruit more women to the field, mentoring young women, and balancing work and family life.

You know, I was reading an article. There was an article that came out of November of 2011 in San Francisco Magazine and it as called Who's the Next Female Zuckerberg? And it really got me thinking about sort of the state of the industry. There seems to be a lot of attention to this question of women and tech lately and so I just wanted to ask the panel generally where do you think will we start? We'll start with you, (Pana?). Where do you think we are in the industry in terms of women and tech right now? Yeah, I think they've come a long way. I actually feel pretty good about where we are in technology. I think if you kinda look at two of the largest tech companies today, IBM and HP, they have women CEO's and there a lot of amazing founders creating tech companies that have made a lot of difference in our lives and so, I mean, it's not that progress that ever was done, right? I mean there is more we can do and we should do to get more women. Actually, I was thinking as I was walking the CES floors am I going to be the panel just to see some women. I would like to see more women out on the floor as well and I think there is more we can do but I do feel like in the last 10 years, we made a lot of progress. If you could put women in some key areas in the industry or business, what do you think that would be? If you just make sure that there was a woman in a few spots throughout the industry? Oh yeah, I think what we are really playing is a numbers game. Right now, today is a great time to be a women in tech but there is not enough women in tech. Right. But I worried a lot as the conversation gets fully focused on what percentage of the pie is women? Ans the truth is the pie isn't big enough. All right. We're not producing enough computer scientist. We're not producing enough product designers. We need a lot more people to keep up with all of these gadgets, all of these technology, all these possibilities, the jobs of the future. We really need a lot more people interested in mobile technologies, in computers. All right. We need a lot more people and if we grow that number, the number of women will by its very nature go up. Right, these are just the sort of things like for the advance placement exam 200,000 students a year take the calculus exam, only 14,000 take computer science exam. So 7% of kids who think they're good at Math take both the Math exam and the Computer Science exam. But if you talk to Google engineers, they've actually done studies. Only 2% of Google engineers were exposed to Computer Science in High School which means if you've graduated in High School and you haven't been exposed the Computer Science, the odds that you're going to end up being an engineer somewhere are incredibly low. So we really just need to get that number up. Right. Imagine if we have 200,000 or 500,000 students graduating from high school every year that were taking Computer Science as well as Calculus, as supposed to 7%. Work-life balance, do you have stories that you can share with us? You know we have talked a lot about all of the stories and I think that that is obviously hugely influential and I would like to hear it. How do you accomplish it? Is it by setting your own schedules? How do you ask for help. So my daughter was very jealous of me going to meetings. So she knew that whenever I was going to a meeting, it was something that excluded to her. Right. So she would... She started doing this... I am sorry, it's gonna be a little bit cute. SO she started doing these sort of meetings with her stuffed animals and things and I was like what did you guys talked about in your meetings and she says balloons and elephants. And so I just said what we would do is we would start having our own meetings and I would kinda include her and this feeling of being involved in work. And so we started having family meetings every Friday morning at 8 AM. And we sit around the breakfast table and we literally have a family meeting. We talk about what was good, what was bad. We talk about our work. We very specifically talk about our work with each other and how our week went and, you know, what we wanna learn in the coming week. And so now we have meetings. And she kinda feels like she has meetings now and a really big thing about the meeting really is the... having a notepad and a really sharp pencil and I don't know, that ended up working very well. How are you on the panel? How are you about taking that mantel and in some cases you do, how do you think you'd be a hero to women interested in technology and do you ever see it as a burden? For younger women... both male and female. I know that (Sheryl Sandberg?) has talked a lot about how choosing... not to get too soft here but choosing the right partner is one of the best choices that you can make for your career. And I think, you know, I have a son and a daughter and it's really important... really important for me to model for my son that I can do both of these things and that he gets to see a partnership at work, at home and that model extends to our children and also maybe to our high schools. I mean really appreciate the comment about getting people involved in engineering in the High School levels because I suspect that not many High School does not have Computer Science programs at all. Right. And certainly in them, I doubt there are many female Computer Science High School Teachers. There is value in sharing your experience. Yeah. And that is something I really believe in and I think I often talk to people, I kinda share my experiences and it's not that anybody can translate your experience to theirs and it's not something you can extrapolate and say this work, will it still work for me. Therefore, it may or may not work for you but it's actually just relaying the story of this is how I dealt with this situation and I think there's value in that.

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