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Innovating Women

The Changing Face of Technology

By Vivek Wadhwa and Farai Chideya
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  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Innovating Women by Vivek Wadhwa and Farai Chideya

Innovating Women takes a critical look at today’s technology industry, which, for all its success, remains incredibly old fashioned in its gender imbalance. Statistics and case studies help us scrutinize major players in the technology industry, while personal stories give insights into the lives of talented female innovators working hard against the odds.

Key idea 1 of 9

Women are vital innovators in the technology industry – yet we often only hear about men.

Think about some of the great innovators in the technology industry. Who comes to mind first? Founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, or Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame? Or perhaps, Kay Koplovitz? If you haven’t heard of Koplovitz’s groundbreaking work, here’s the reason why: She’s a woman.

Why is it that we usually associate the technological advances of recent decades with only the men behind them?

It’s not the case that women don’t have what it takes to innovate, in fact, quite the opposite. A study conducted by the National Science Foundation found that females matched males in mathematical achievement. Moreover, for every 100 men that enrol in higher education, there are 140 women.

Not only do women excel academically, they are also no less business-savvy than men, if not more so. Another study completed by Babson’s Global Entrepreneurship revealed that female-led high-tech start-ups have noticeably lower failure rates than those that are male leaders.

Despite this, the technology industry itself often praises the achievements of men only. In fact, even over the past few years, the TechCrunch Crunchies Awards (the Oscars of the tech industry), have often been exclusively awarded to men. As a result, we’re often left unaware of the achievements of female innovators like Kay Klopovitz, who you should thank if you’ve ever watched a live sports game on TV.

In 1977, Klopovitz singlehandedly brought professional sport to cable television in the United States. Inspired by a talk given by the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke, she brought the future to life by developing the novel idea of using satellites for commercial rather than military purposes.

If only we heard more about success stories like Klopovitz, we’d see that women might even have an edge over men in their abilities to innovate. This is exactly what we’ll be exploring in the next blink, as we take a closer look at the tech businesswomen we rarely hear about.

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