Good News and Bad News for Women in Tech

What do Lady Gaga and Sheryl Sandberg have in common? Last week, both women found a place on Newsweek/The Daily Beast’s Digital Power Index, a list of the 100 most powerful people in the digital world.

Unfortunately, in addition to Sandberg and Gaga, only six other women made the list–bringing the grand total of influential women in the digital world to a whopping eight. At least, according to Newsweek.

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It’s no secret that the tech industry faces a shortage of women: Forbes points out that only 9% of America’s Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are female, and 30% of the country’s tech execs confirm that their IT groups have no women in management positions. Even so, we find the lack of women on this Power List—and others—unsettling.

While we agree that the tech world needs more women at every level, we’d also note that some of our favorite tech-savvy females are notably absent from this list—startup gurus like Caterina Fake, the co-founder of Flickr, and Julia Hartz, the President of Eventbrite. Or what about corporate big leaguers like Jane Moran, the CIO of Reuters, or Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox?

These women represent a growing group of tech powerhouses, which brings us to some good news: the rise of a new conference called “Girls Who Code” that aims to get young girls interested in technology. The initiative takes 20 teenage girls from low-income areas in New York for two months, and covers everything from building mobile apps to taking tours of Facebook and hearing lectures from industry leaders. Ultimately, the conference aims to get girls interested in tech early on, in the hope that they find a passion for the field.

When it comes to the digital world, women clearly have a long way to go in closing the gender gap–but it’s encouraging to know that progress is happening, one tech-savvy teen at a time.