Bing Creator Sees Bright Future for Working Women

By Jon Blau Herald-Times, Bloomington, Ind.

Blaise Aguera y Arcas looks around his workplace at Google, and the software architect doesn't see many female faces.

But when the man behind Bing Maps, Bing Mobile and Photosynth turns to the data, statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, he finds another story.

He sees a future where women hold financial power.

During a lecture at Indiana University Monday, Aguera y Arcas used line graphs to illustrate the point that women are earning more degrees than men, from bachelor's degrees to doctorates.

Younger women are more closely tracking men in salary, too. For example, in 2012, the average 22-year-old woman's salary was 95 percent of an average man's of the same age, while a 50-year-old woman earned 75 percent of her male counterpart's salary.

Since 1979, all line curves seem to be ascending for women.

With the increase in females earning degrees, and the escalating percentage of a male's salary younger generations of women are starting to attain, Aguera y Arcas made a mathematical argument that women could soon make more than men and will own a greater percentage of the wealth.

"This represents an inversion of 10,000 years of history, at least the economic dominance of men over women," Aguera y Arcas said. "Economics are incredibly fundamental in the empowerment of a person. If you rely on someone else to do something for you, get money for you, drive you somewhere, you are not empowered. What this is telling us is women are going to have money in the 2020s."

The former distinguished engineer at Microsoft tried to provide some explanation of why this is occurring.

Within the past seven years, the scales have tipped toward more people living in cities rather than rural areas. With more people attaining wealth in urban areas, Aguera y Arcas hypothesized that the workplace has become an increasingly collaborative place, rather than an environment for "aggressive" men.

In fact, a search of newspaper archives and "job wanted" ads showed the word "aggressive" has become less and less prevalent since the 1960s and '70s, but "collaborative," what researchers regard as a much more feminine trait, has appeared more and more.

Of course, Aguera y Arcas comes from the technology sector, where women represent a smaller portion of that workforce. But it was his position during a talk at the Indiana Memorial Union that trends, for the most part, are pointing toward more equity for women in the workplace and that "the war on women" might be a "visceral" reaction from men who don't want to give up financial power.

"For men who have lived in that masculine culture, it's a very difficult thing to realize maybe, in your guts, subconsciously you are aware of it, that this whole thing is about to blow up in your face," Aguera y Arcas "Maybe a lot of the political polarization we are seeing is kind of a response to that."

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