What Would Joe Do?
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at www.aycinena.com. She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.
Career Girls: Does anyone really know what time it is?
December 12th, 2013 by Peggy Aycinena
Last week, I had a chance to interview the founder of Career Girls, a YouTube channel chock-a-block with 220+ video interviews of successful women talking about how they got started in their careers, what educational background they needed for those careers, and what features and/or people in their lives helped to bring them to where they are today.
All good stuff, but then this week Mary Barra was named CEO of GM – yeah, yeah, you’ve already heard – the first woman CEO of a major American automobile manufacturer. Outgoing CEO Dan Akerson is quoted as saying, “Mary was not picked because of her gender or political correctness, [but because] Mary’s one of the most gifted executives I’ve met in my career.”
So, it’s a meritocracy after all? If that’s the case here in 2013, do we actually still need something like CareerGirls.org to encourage our daughters to be all they can be? Well, despite Detroit’s Mary Barra, and the likes of Meg Whitman, Marissa Meyer, and Sheryl Sandberg here in Silicon Valley, there are still, according to some studies, very few women anywhere near to the top in big business. And we need look no farther than EDA to prove it … again.
Synopsys has how many women on their executive team and how many on their board of directors? The answer is 2 women out of 13 members on the executive team, and 1 out of 9 on the board of directors.
Cadence has how many women on their executive team and how many on their board of directors? The answer is 1 woman out of 10 members on the executive team, and 1 woman out of 8 members on the board of directors.
Jasper Design Automation – which has to be on this list for the political correctness of it all – has how many women on their executive team and how many on their board of directors? The answer is 2 women out of 8 members on the executive team, and 2 out of 8 on the board of directors.
And as always, endearingly chivalrous Mentor Graphics continues to proves itself the astonishing EDA leader in this metric when you ask how many women are on their executive team and how many are on their board of directors? The answer for Mentor is, as it has always been, 0 women out of 22 on the executive team and 0 out of 8 on the board of directors. It’s not really 2013 in Wilsonville. It’s more like 1983, or 1973, or 1963.
Jasper CEO Kathryn Kranen certainly thinks so, which is why she invited me to her office last week to meet and interview Linda Calhoun, founder and force behind Career Girls. Calhoun decided some years ago that her calling in life was going to be all about encouraging girls to do what they need to do in school to guarantee that they can do what they want to do when they became adult women.
Should she, instead, have named her website and enterprise Career Women?
No, because Calhoun’s efforts are directed at girls in the 5th and 6th grade, 10-to-13 year old girls who are making critical decisions about their future opportunities and don’t even realize it – especially when they opt out of math and science because a) those aren’t cool subjects for girls and b) the boys seem to do it so much better.
Calhoun and CareerGirls.org want to change that by making these girls aware of the course work they need to embrace by the 5th and 6th grades, the coolness of those courses, the grades they need to earn while mastering the knowledge embedded in those courses, and the commitment they need to demonstrate towards professional goals that build on college educations that build on high school educations that build on elementary school educations that include a heavy dollop of math and science.
In other words, a boy’s not going to be a professional baseball player if he doesn’t pick up the game until he’s 18. And a girl’s not going to be an engineer or a doctor or an astronaut if she doesn’t pick up math and science until she’s 18. Baseball requires a much longer lead time to develop the skillset needed for success. Engineering, doctoring and astronaut-ing requires a much longer lead time to develop the skillset for success.
Okay, you already know all of this. Yes, you really do. And you also know that these truths apply to your daughters and to your sons. If your children – no matter the gender – are not playing in the math and science sandbox by the time they turn 10, they’re closing [read “slamming”] the door on a whole world of opportunity that can be so thrilling and fulfilling.
By the way, Kathryn Kranen’s contribution to Linda Calhoun’s efforts are all about EDA. The two met at a networking event earlier this year and Kranen was so taken with the message and motivation around CareerGirls.org, she invited Calhoun to conduct further interviews for the YouTube channel at Jasper’s offices in Mountain View focusing on successful Silicon Valley women in design automation.
At Kranen’s invitation, numerous women involved in EDA – including Kranen herself – have now been taped and will soon be included among the hundreds of interviews currently accessible on the Career Girls YouTube channel. Kranen’s group can guarantee their stories will get lots of viewers, once edited and posted to the site – Linda Calhoun says the channel launched last year has had over 400,000 views.
By the way, there’s lots of other good stuff on the CareerGirls.org website that complements the messaging of the videos on the YouTube channel – information for educators and parents who are mentoring kids, so they can further explore career options available for those who get an early enough start on everything relevant to those careers.
Linda Calhoun and her enterprise partner (and husband) deserve huge kudos for this effort. If you have kids between the ages of 10 and 13, you should spend some time with them exploring the ideas and resources that CareerGirls.org have assembled. It’s a veritable treasure trove of ideas just waiting to be put to good use.
Because it’s really time to move past 1983 and embrace the 21st century. Even if you’re headquartered in Wilsonville. Really.
CareerGirls.Org is a free, noncommercial, online platform which showcases video clips of diverse women role models sharing career and educational advice to inspire young girls to expand their horizons, improve their academic performance, and dream big about their futures. Career Girls is dedicated to providing young girls of all income levels and ethnic backgrounds with the academic tools and support they need to achieve their professional aspirations.
It isn’t enough to tell young girls to “dream big” or “aim high.” Without proper encouragement, or concrete methods for turning their abilities into tangible careers, many young women can simply flounder in the educational system. Career Girls is an organization dedicated to providing young girls of all income levels and ethnic backgrounds with the academic tools and support they need to achieve their professional aspirations.
We do this by providing a “real world” context for a child’s academic studies, specifically through interviews with positive female role models and a comprehensive collection of easy-to-follow educational resources. By hearing from successful women they can identify with, and learning about the educational paths these professionals took to reach their goals, female students can take direct steps toward nurturing their own intellects, skills and talents in order to create fulfilling and productive lives of their choosing.
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