I’m An Ex-Google Woman Tech Leader And I’m Sick Of Our Approach To Diversity!
Vidya Narayanan
20K295

Great article. It is nice to hear from someone who has actually worked at Google.

One nit, though. The piece says “Go out and talk to freshmen and sophomore women about why they should pursue a career in tech.”

But why should they? Why is a career as a software engineer better than a career in health care or finance or law or something else? Why is selling undergraduates, regardless of Gender ID, on programming doing them a favor? Wouldn’t young people be more likely to find careers that suit them if we provide neutral information?

Personally I love to program in SQL and Lisp, but this weekend when my friend’s daughter said that she wanted to be a screenwriter I set her up with some friends and cousins who work in Hollywood. It didn’t occur to me to try to sell her on the beauty of E.F. Codd’s relational model or lambda calculus. I also love helicopters, but I didn’t say “Instead of screenwriting, you could be a Robinson R44 instructor and then move up to medevac AStar pilot. Let’s spend the next two hours talking about helicopter aerodynamics because everyone should know about angle of attack, retreating blade stall, and dissymmetry of lift.”

What’s the definition of boorish behavior at a cocktail party? Someone who comes up to you and starts talking about what is interesting to them without first checking to see if it is interesting to you. How is it good manners to wade into a sea of college students studying premed and talk at them about the wonders of software engineering?

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