Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

An Unlikely Pair (Me and Glamour Magazine, That Is) Tackle Women in Tech Conundrum This Fall

As readers of mine know, I write a semi-ranty post now and again about the lack of women in high-level tech jobs and on the boards of its major companies.

While things are a lot better in the digital industry than, say, in meat-packing, it is still a slow slog to equality in both power and influence, even with ever more enlightened male tech leaders.

Many years ago, for example, I posted a piece, titled “The Men and (No) Women Facebook of Facebook Management” There were none in the high echelons of the social networking start-up at the time.

More recently, I wrote a piece — “The Men and No Women of Web 2.0 Boards (BoomTown’s Talking to You: Twitter, Facebook, Zynga, Groupon and Foursquare)” — about how all the often touchy-feely men entrepreneurs of the hottest Web 2.0 companies had a glaring problem.

While most of them have women as a majority of their customers, they could not seem to find even one qualified woman for any of their boards.

This makes it a struggle even in programming our D: All Things Digital conferences. We have featured almost every significant female tech exec we could — from eBay’s Meg Whitman to Hewlett-Packard’s Carly Fiorina to Yahoo’s Sue Decker and, later, Carol Bartz to Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg to this year’s amazing DARPA head Dr. Regina Dugan.

But it is still definitely not enough and a failing we think about improving all the time.

I could go on — and I am going to go on even more this fall in the pages of Glamour magazine, which has asked me to write an essay on where all the women in tech are and what is their status today and in the future.

I will also be part of what I hope will be a provocative panel, moderated by Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive, in New York City on October 11.

The panel, said Glamour, “will ask where all the women are and why don’t we see more of them — and tell why the next Mark Zuckerberg should be a ‘Marcia.'”

I am not so sanguine that that will occur anytime soon, but it will be good to talk about this important issue. Diversity is at the heart of true innovation and more of it is needed for tech to thrive in the coming years.

I will also be helping select the panelists for the Glamour event and would welcome any suggestions, especially some ideas that are not typical.

Until then, here’s the impressive Dugan at D9 last week, as well as a video of the movie trailer for 1995’s “Hackers,” in which Angelina Jolie plays a hard-charging techie who is her mostly dude colleagues’ equal.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik