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More Momentum For Efforts For More STEM Diversity

14 December 2015, 5:27 am EST By Quinten Plummer Tech Times
Efforts to bring in qualified women and minorities to STEM jobs need a kick in the pants, several kicks in fact. DXagency's CEO Sandy Rubinstein spoke of the need for diversity in STEM.  ( George A. Spiva Center for the Arts | Flickr )

Silicon Valley's shot callers generally look and think a lot like their play makers, a dearth of diversity that isn't lost in the likes of Intel and Microsoft. The high-tech sector's industry leaders have been retooling their scouting to draft more women and minorities, but there's plenty more that needs to be done.

Rubinstein, a minority, now helms the New Jersey-based marketing agency after two decades of calling shots at Lifetime Television and Nickelodeon. Despite this idea that millennials all feel entitled, shot callers have been impressed by their youthful eagerness to take on unassigned work and learn from software engineers.

"There has been an evolution in young people mentality that technology is not only for the smart kids but available to all," Sandy Rubinstein, CEO of DXagency told Tech Times. "Even older people, like myself, are not intimidated by technology any more. It's accessible and inviting to all." 

Yet, the same type of enthusiastic outlook on technology jobs hasn't been cultivated in women as much as it should, according to Rubinstein. Many qualified women still don't think of technology and the other disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education as a viable career for themselves, for various reasons, she says.

"The [STEM] disciplines all work hand in hand, yet this way of thinking is just being pushed out in public schools. Women need to realize that they don't have to lose their creative side when exploring tech careers. They can embrace it and drive tech advances in so many fields." 

While much of the attention, and pressure, has been on Silicon Valley, change needs to happen nationally, says Rubinstein. And those changes should start in elementary school, continuing on through middle grades and high school, she said.

"We need to show all kids men, women, every ethnicity that STEM careers are within their reach.  We need to get kids engaged early, creating and innovating," added Rubinstein. "The more money put behind these types of opportunities and funding for schools will make such a sizable impact." 

There are grassroots efforts to spur interest in STEM among women and minorities, such as Girls in Tech, Black Girls Code, the Anita Borg Institute, Women's Startup Lab and others. But a few dozen non-profits are trying to reach out across a country with 157 million women and about 116 million minorities. 

And all this shouldn't be looked at as a slight or disservice to White Boys Code or the Guy's Startup Lab, not that those exist. This all highlights a problem, and we all stand to gain as soon as it's resolved.

Photo : George A. Spiva Center for the Arts | Flickr

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