Tech May Be Fueling S.F.’s Growing Gender Pay Gap

By Joaquin Palomino
San Francisco Chronicle.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Is the tech industry to blame for the significant pay gap in the city? A handful of programs and nonprofits are trying to diversify tech by empowering women but the lack of women in the industry has complex roots. Factors include a shortage of female engineers, a higher-than-average exit rate for women within the sector and possible bias that impacts hiring and promotions.

San Francisco

Lisa Vogt always felt like she was on the outskirts of San Francisco’s tech sector. In the 1990s, she was learning basic Web design while the dot-com boom reshaped the city. In the late 2000s, as Twitter, Salesforce and other tech giants expanded in San Francisco, Vogt taught beginner computer users how to maneuver the Internet.

In 2014, though, she dove head-first into the industry, enrolling in a 12-week Web development boot camp at General Assembly, a tech vocational school. That led to software engineering jobs at a small video game company, then a stint at the much larger gaming firm Zynga — best known for its popular mobile app, “Words With Friends.”

Still, Vogt felt like an outsider in tech — and in some significant ways, she is. About three-quarters of computer and mathematical workers in San Francisco are men, according to census data, a figure that has remained stubbornly static for years.

That gender segregation in one of San Francisco’s fastest-growing and most lucrative industries may have helped fuel a growing pay gap in the city. Since the end of the recession, the pay disparity between fully employed men and women, those with advanced degrees and even those holding tech jobs, has grown wider, according to census data.

“Not seeing many people that look like you, having that added element of discomfort, makes it difficult to enter the industry,” Vogt said. “I’m sure the impostor syndrome has a lot to do with it,” she added, “the feeling that everyone else knows so much more than I do, which isn’t necessarily true.”

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