Innovating Women: Changing the Face of Technology, by Vivek Wahwa and Farai Chideya is a crowd-written book with contributions from hundreds of incredible women within the STEM fields. The collaborative writing process provides a comprehensive reference for men and women who are innovating and disrupting STEM industries. I am honored to be part of this inspirational group. Among the contributors are Anousheh Ansari the first female private sector space explorer, Google [X] VP Megan Smith, venture capitalist Heidi Roizen and CEO of Nanobiosym, Patriarch Partners CEO Lynn Tilton, Shaherose Charania Founder & CEO of Women 2.0, and Whitney Johnson Disruption and Innovation Facilitator and Co-Founder of Rose Park Advisors.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter 2: Woman to Woman and speaks to one of my favorite topics, human capital:
One of the age-old challenges women have faced is how much help to expect from other women. Although we found a significant number of women who said they’d had negative or mediocre experiences with female supervisors or colleagues, overall we see leadership and funding circles-by and for female innovators—reshaping the game.
There’s a trend of women reaching out to build new networks, organizations, and systems for women to assist each other. Women in the fields of STEM have used both formal and informal systems to support each other in their careers, entrepreneurship, and educational goals. But how far women’s networking can go in helping to change the game is yet to come.
Technology has become not only a discipline and a job field, but a dream that draws talent toward it. Shaerose Charania was born in Canada and studied business and technology at the University of Western Ontario. In 2005, she took a leap of faith that would change her life. A friend sold her on the idea of going to Silicon Valley. She had a job interview…but didn’t get the job. Nonetheless, she was so entranced with the energy and vision there that she went to her bank, took a line of credit, and moved to technology’s Promise Land, the place where Google was growing and Facebook was taking off.
But things weren’t quite what Charania expected. “I arrived here and noticed-it’s weird, but I was the only girl in the room. I started to get to know a lot of investors, and they were funding their friends from college, their guy friends from their dorm rooms.” At the same time, she was watching female entrepreneurs in emerging economies become more educated and sophisticated and gain access to capital through microloans. As they were continuing to grow in power and develop bigger businesses, the role of women was truly changing in these markets, but “ they wouldn’t find role models when they looked to the West. Which led to the start of Women 2.0.”