So the other day I was reading The New Yorker — the actual magazine, not the tablet version. I hate reading magazines electronically. They force me to read chronologically, when for me some of the joy of reading a magazine is flipping through the pages and reading whatever I want, in whichever order. Yes, that means I’m always about two weeks behind, but hey — if you want to know what the hot restaurants were in late October, I’m totally your gal.
Anyway. So the other day, there was a short article about the gender gap in Silicon Valley, written by James Surowiecki. Titled “Valley Boys,” the article described what we all already know: the leadership in the digital world is overwhelmingly male. Sorry Sheryl, it seems that leaning in isn’t getting the job done. The article sketched out some of what is being done in an attempt to change this problem, which is, in fact a problem. At the end of the article, Surowiecki cites an oft-cited study by McKinsey, which found that “organizations with the most diverse executive teams had dramatically higher returns on equity and earnings performance than those with the least diverse teams.”
Want a higher return on your investments? Invest with the company whose board doesn’t look like a poster for the Old White Guys society. Wait, what’s that you say? That’s what most of the Republican party looks like? Er… well, ‘Murrica, hope you’re not expecting a quality return on that particular mid-term investment.
But I digress.
The next article in the magazine was titled “The Programmer’s Price,” by Lizzy Widdicombe, and focused on an agency whose specialty is hiring out computer programmers and techies. Here’s the photo that ran with the article:
Nice-looking bunch of fellows, aren’t they? Especially the lad with the gingery tresses in the front.
So here’s my question: did the editors at the magazine intend for this piece to be a visual commentary on the “there are no women in tech” article? Or are we witnessing unintentional editorial irony? There are no women in that picture and the only mention of women in the article is the fact that this digital talent agency only has three women on its roster, a fact that one of the agency’s owners says he is “bummed” about. Yeah. I’m sure the gender inequity is, like, totally a drag for him. I’m sure that the the women trying to break through the ranks of coding machismo in order to land one of the plum coding jobs (or should we say Apple jobs?) are bummed about it too.
It’s no surprise to find irony in the pages of The New Yorker; I’m just not used to seeing the articles silently comment on one another in this fashion. I appreciate the irony–and realized too that if I had a daughter, she’d be learning to code.