Male academics don’t inspire female innovators. Female innovators inspire female innovators. So when Vivek Wadhwa sought to highlight women’s struggles and achievements in the innovation economy, he teamed with journalist Farai Chideya to solicit stories from women around the world. Wadhwa, whose CV includes Stanford, Duke, and Singularity University, took a break from editing the book to discuss the project with editor-at-large Leigh Buchanan.
Why this topic?
After coming to Silicon Valley from North Carolina a few years ago, my wife made me realize something strange. You don’t see women here at tech conferences. You don’t see women on the boards of tech companies. You don’t see women CTOs.When it comes to the workplace, women aren’t there. It’s like the Twilight Zone.
So I started researching the causes of the problem and speaking out about it. And the more I spoke, the more attacks I endured from the Silicon Valley elite. I said, Aha! This is the root of the problem.
Why did you decide to crowdsource the book?
I started a major research project at Stanford [on women and technology], which we are wrapping up right now. But academic papers have to be boring. I said, Let’s do a book about this issue where I can express all the opinions I want. But it doesn’t make sense for a guy to tell women how to fix their problems.