SFU professor calls for gender equality in tech industry

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SFU engineer science professor, Lesley Shannon, is calling for gender equality in the tech industry.

Shannon says well women are welcomed by tech companies, there are still stereotypes in society that discourage women from entering the industry.

For starters, Shannon says many stereotypes are coming from television and shows like The Big Bang Theory promote these stereotypes.

“Look at how the women scientists are portrayed. They don’t where cool clothes or there not socially inept. Penny is the one with the strong EQ (emotional intelligence) but she is not good at math or science, that’s negative messaging that feeds through.”

To change the way tech industry is viewed, Shannon suggests starting at the high-school and elementary level and putting more emphasis on female scientists.

“For example when we talk about scientists and we teach kids about scientists, how many female scientists do you think you can name and how many male scientists do you think you can name? I throw that as a question to you, because if you think about it you probably didn’t learn about very many female scientists when you were going true and those role models are important”

In a press release, SFU says there needs to be strategies for advancing gender diversity in the tech sector and that “diversity and inclusion are critical to corporate success”.

According to Shannon, SFU is taking the initiative by doing a colloquium of women in the tech industry.

The colloquium is called Women in Technology: Attracting, Retaining and Promoting Diverse Talent and starts today.

SFU says this will be a 7 part lecture series and aims to educate participants on challenges and solutions that have been identified to improve gender diversity in recruitment, retention and promotion to leadership roles.