‘Out of the Loop in Silicon Valley’ and Full Frontal Feminism

In the article titled Out of the Loop in Silicon Valley, written by Claire Cain Miller for the New York Times, some relevant issues pertaining to gender equality in the technology industry is raised. The high-tech industry, represented by the Silicon Valley in California, is a progressive place with ‘innovation’, ‘entrepreneurship’ and ‘creativity’ being the buzzwords. So many start-up tech companies are set up in the region annually, but nearly all of them are led by men. Those exceptional ones that are founded by women face difficulties in getting funding for projects. So, despite being progressive in many respects, there is yet no complete acceptance of women in top managerial roles. Another issue raised by the article is the stereotyping of women’s possible career paths right from high-school. It is partly true that many girls do not have a natural inclination toward subjects such as math and science. But even those who show interests in these subjects are either discouraged, denied opportunity or under-funded in fulfilling their aspirations. A third key issue raised by Ms. Claire Miller is the practical difficulties faced by women entrepreneurs, especially young women who wanted to raise families.

Such issues discussed in Out of the Loop are highly relevant to contemporary American society and are analyzed in detail by Jessica Valenti in her popular recent book Full Frontal Feminism. In an attempt to bring awareness about Feminism to the younger generation of women, Valenti uses easy language and accessible real-life examples to illustrate her points. Valenti suggests that the problems faced by women in the corporate world, typified by those working in the Silicon Valley, are symptomatic of their oppression in other facets of life. Just as the word feminism has now acquired negative connotations and is believed to put-off men, assertion of their workplace rights is also not properly expressed. Hence, the wage gap between men and women, obstacles to career progress faced by women, how women find it hard to balance work and family life, etc are not just problems confronting those in the Silicon Valley. As Full Frontal Feminism wittily and clearly illuminates, there are still deep-rooted biases and negative stereotypes that continue to subjugate women in society. Significant changes to the status quo would serve as robust solutions to these issues.

References:

Valenti, Jessica (March 27, 2007). Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters. Seal Press. ISBN 978-1580052016.

Claire, Cain Miller, (April 17, 2010), Out of the Loop in Silicon Valley, Published in the New York Times, retrieved from <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/18/technology/18women.html?pagewanted=all> on 12th May, 2011