Monday, December 27, 2010

The early days of Google, and hiring women

Enjoyed this brief interview with Google's Marissa Mayer in Newsweek.

She was Google's first woman engineer, and she shares a couple of insights about their early days and how they overtly and openly considered and talked about hiring women as an asset and important to their team. They also made sure at least one woman was on every interviewing team...a tactic I absolutely love.

Apparently they didn't worry about securing "diversity instead of quality", which is my number one most-hated straw man argument and bad excuse.

There's a little unintended irony, though, as Mayer talks about not encountering obstacles as a woman engineer in her career. I'm quite sure she didn't (and it didn't hurt to be at one place for virtually all of her adult career, and being engineer #8 to boot).

But right there in the comments of Newsweek, only a half dozen of which are on display on the landing page, you see one comment about her physical attributes and another asserting she got her job because of her looks.

As I tried to say on Facebook, before it cut me off without alerting me that it was going to:

Sad and unsurprising how some of the comments, of course, are talking about Mayer's looks and physical attributes. Mayer says she never encountered obstacles being a woman...and I'm sure in her direct interactions she didn't. But it is an obstacle. It is a problem. It is an issue that no discussion of a prominent woman in tech can happen without this being an accepted part of the discourse. And it is *is* obviously accepted, since it is not deleted.

Mayer estimates the percentage of women engineers at Google is at about 20%. I'm going to guess the percentage of Google users who are women is at about 50%.

This interview, which I generally love, and the ensuing comments, which I do not, are part of the reason BlogHer launched our new conference for women in business and technology.

So, if you're a woman with a big idea in tech or media that you want to see implemented...whether by your own start-up or your place of employment...check out BlogHer|bet (Business, Entrepreneurism, Technology) this March in Silicon Valley. Mentoring, Networking, Programming...all designed to send you out from the conference with your next steps to make your big idea happen.

More info here.

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Comments:
this is why I try not to read comments posted on these type of sites --- there are so many ignorant & hateful ppl out there it's says a heck of a lot abou our society. Sorry for typos, baby on one arm! =)

You should see the yahoo news comments - racism & sexism galore.
 
Back in the day I used to follow the Yahoo Finance boards for the public companies I worked for...horrifying comments, all over whether to buy or sell.
 
The workers are the backbone of any business: don't step on them just to make a profit.

Terry Byrne
 
I totally agree with you Ms. Terry.


Raquel
 
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