Death and the inequities of the technology industry

February 05, 2008

Yesterday, Boston Globe reported that the death of Jeanette Symons on Friday. A pilot who has flown for over 20 years, Jeanette and her son sadly perished in a crash from Maine.

To many who work in the technology industry, this was a great loss to us. Jeanette was CTO and VP of Engineering for Zhone Technology. Prior to that, she was the CTO, EVP and co-founder of Ascend Communications, a leading provider of WAN solutions. For many women who work in the technology industry, she was considered an inspiration for many a GirlGeeks.

Her death also highlighted for me in many ways, an unchanging nature of the technology industry. No where on the major technology blogs, with the exception of a small snarky blurb on ValleyWag, was her death covered. She had made significant contributions to this industry and yet, why so little coverage of the loss of such a talented individual? If this was the death of a male entrepreneur of a similar contribution and background, this would have been in all the major technology blogs.

This saddens me greatly. I’ve been working in this industry since 1994 (even before graduating UCSD) and it would seem so little has changed for women working in this industry. Despite of Carley, Meg and others who have led major companies, women still seem to be second class citizens in the industry we helped to build.

That’s how I’m feeling. If you disagree with me, please comment or write me an email.


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