Thursday, October 2, 2008

Silicon Valley Girls

Silicon Valley has a male testosterone driven image. It is a fact pure and simple that the chino brigade outnumbers the fairer sex in the boardroom and on the high tech shop floor.

Studies have shown that about 20% of IT jobs are held by women and an even smaller proportion occupy a C-level office. A report last year by UC Davis showed that despite Silicon Valley's cutting edge image it ranked dead last for female execs. A mere 9% in case you are wondering.

A while back California Congresswoman Jackie Speier said "The growth of women in executive offices and board rooms is as slow as molasses."

When I was here in 2000, there were a small number of very able women getting the job done. From Meg Whitman at eBay to Carol Bartz at Autodesk and Carly Fiorina at HP. Though her role was controversial to say the least and she was eventually driven out of her job.

Despite the dismal results of the UC Davis study, women in senior roles certainly seem to be much more visible than they were back in the dotcom craze. They occupy starring roles at conferences and grace the front pages of magazines and newspapers like never before. But the question still remains as to what kind of dent they have made in that glass ceiling.

The Valley Girls series isn't so much concerned with answering that question as meeting some of the women who are trying to make their mark and shape the culture of the Valley and the industry.

This is not going to be a crusade. The issue of gender is intrinsic to the series but will not dominate. The aim is to try and lift the veil on who some of those female execs are and understand what drives them.

Padma WarriorThis week we meet Padma Warrior, a rare breed in the Valley as a female chief technology officer of a global company with more than 66,000 employees.

This self confessed geek joined Cisco less than a year ago from Motorola and talks to us about her passion for technology, her inspiration and her vision for the future.

Source : BBC News