MIA: Women in EDA
by Peggy Aycinena
March 26, 2009
Since the beginning of the year, I've attended at least 10 different technical conferences. That translates into over 100 sessions, panels, keynotes, etc. Since the beginning of the year, during all of those meetings, I've seen exactly one woman on stage.The question is not where have all the women technologists gone. The question is, were there ever any women technologists at these conferences in the first place? From my vantage point, the answer is unequivocally no. Why is that?
Why aren't there any women executives in technical companies, the kind of people who give keynotes at conferences? Why aren't there any women engineering managers, the kind of people who manage engineering teams and attend and talk at technical conferences? Why aren't there any women engineers at all, the kind of people who attend technical conferences, mill around in the hallways between sessions, wear jeans and shirt-sleeves, collect conference bags, and design stuff?
Why? The answer is simple.
There aren't any women at these conferences, because girls don't study engineering.
Why? The answer is complex.
* It's too hard.
Every year at DAC, there's a workshop specially designed to encourage Women in Design Automation. Some years, dozens of people attend the workshop. Some years, a hundred or more people attend the workshop.
The workshop is usually about gender-neutral topics like professional growth, mentoring, and figuring out how to transition from a technical role to a managerial role in the organization. These topics are important for everybody. But since the Workshop has the word Women in the title, men do not attend.
That's a pity. Men who are in EDA are too old to be worried about whether or not they're dating cheerleaders. They are old enough, however, to be worried about the trajectory of their careers. Unless, of course, they've already figured everything out, on account of boys being smarter than girls.
You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.
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