Okay folks, this is gonna be a highly editorial post but since I want to say something on the subject and I have a blog, it seems like I have a forum to speak my mind (even if this is like writing in my diary).
Tableau has two major initiatives going on currently that are centered around women in data. As Shawn questions in his philosophical thread, why do we need such a forum and questions whether women need men's help?
My answer to those questions is quite simple to me. In an utopia, we would not need forums like this. Everyone would be judged on merit and those who do well advance. However, we are not in an utopia. As Anya points out in her response, there is data to back up the reasoning why we need forums like this, only 26% of women made up the computing workforce in 2013. She quotes other statistics as well. And like Anya, I'd like to explore why. Is it that women don't want to work in this field, are they not given the same opportunities as their male counterparts (from schooling to job advancement)? I think understanding the root cause of the numbers is especially important. Maybe the 26% is okay. Or not. However, I think we can all agree that when we have a diverse workforce, our industry and society is better for it. If you don't believe that, I would strongly encourage you to take diversity training.
To answer a second question about whether women need men? The answer is yes. First off, men are about half of the general population, so yeah. It's almost as if we need each other (gasp)! Secondly, if we believe that women should have greater representation in the workforce if they choose to, then we do need the support of men, whether it's spousal support to go to after-work user group meetings or supporting women in the workplace. In my opinion, men play a key role to supporting and empowering women in this space. Further, I see this support as necessary to also close the pay gap that exists (where yo, overall women make about 77 cents to the dollar men make). So if this support helps empower women and creates economic empowerment, then our respective families and communities are better for it. So to me, men are critical to women's empowerment.
To close this out (for now), there is a Women in Data meet up at #data15. I encourage everyone (men and women) to attend so that in my view, we can be the agents of change for a better local and global community.