Diversity in Tech Visualized, University of Maryland Center for Women in Computing, Activist Coders, Funding Female Founders, Engaging Girls in Making, Gender Pay Gap

Diversity in Tech Visualized

Information is Beautiful recently posted an infographic that presents the diversity data of 18 Silicon Valley tech companies. The infographic includes both gender and racial breakdowns, and also compares the data to the U.S. population, the U.S. Congress, Fortune 500 CEOs, venture capitalists, and Kaiser Permanente, which is identified as the “most diverse U.S. company.” All the data used to create the infographic is also available in a google spreadsheet. Transparency around diversity has been a major news item this year, with a number of companies publicly sharing their data. NCWIT covered this topic on our blog in a post titled, “Going Public: SendGrid and the Diversity Data Movement,” featuring SendGrid Senior Director of People Josh Ashton with his thoughts on the importance of this type of transparency.

Releasing data is not the only way to make positive changes at workplaces. Another is addressing institutional barriers. NCWIT’s “Institutional Barriers & Their Effects: How can I talk to colleagues about these issues?” can help individuals learn how to identify institutional barriers and how to explain why addressing them benefits everyone. It’s an ideal resource to share with colleagues in the technology workforce.

University of Maryland Center for Women in Computing

The University of Maryland Center for Women in Computing was featured in a recent Diamondback article. According to the article, the Center officially launched on November 21 and “aims to foster a community of women who study computer science at this university, while also conducting outreach to bring a computing appreciation to more young women.” At the Center’s launch event, NCWIT member Jan Plane, who is also the director of the Center said, “Computing has some of the most creative and rewarding jobs and they’re really in demand, and yet they suffer from a diversity record that is one of the worst.”

While not all college campuses have centers focused solely on women in computing, many have groups that can help retain students and provide an infrastructure for local activism. NCWIT’s resource, “How to Create and Sustain a Women in Computing Group on Your Campus,” offers tips to help women get a group going and keep it going. Share this resource with college women you know today!

Activist Coders

In a recent Fast Company article, Jane Porter profiled Code for Progress, a company dedicated to teaching coding skills to social activists. The company specifically seeks out participants from underrepresented groups. According to Porter, “The first incoming group of fellows was 75% women, most did not go to college, and 5 of the 12 participants identified as LGBT.” Aliya Rahman, program director at Code for Progress, explained that the company is responding to the tech sector asking, “How do we balance the desire to have the most credentialed people and diversity?" Porter also wrote about the variety of work that Code for Progress participants are taking on. “They are working to build digital resources for black urban youth, queer undocumented immigrants, the hearing impaired, and on issues including low-income advocacy services, Native American tribal sovereignty, and grassroots local campaigns.”

The coding skills for these future employees are important, and so is making sure that their workplaces are prepared to develop a diverse range of employees. NCWIT’s “Supervising-in-a-Box: Employee Development,” can help supervisors establish supportive and effective relationships. From ways to reduce or remove unconscious bias, to tips related to recruitment, project management, and everyday communication, this resource will help ensure that employees are supported and able to contribute their best ideas and talents to the team.

Funding Female Founders

In a recent TechRepublic article, Lynsdey Gilpin profiled Female Founders Fund (F Cubed), a venture capitalist firm that exclusively funds companies that have at least one female founder. Gilpin cited findings from “Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capital,” a 2014 Diana Project study which found that “fewer than 5% of all ventures receiving equity capital had women on their executive teams.” In her article, Gilpin interviewed F Cubed Founder Anu Duggal who explained that she had two goals in founding the firm. The first was simply to help these women found businesses. “The number two part of it was, if you prove you get a great return, the industry will take notice of that.”

Duggal’s firm targets startups at the funding stage, but new companies can take steps to increase diversity at all stages. NCWIT covered one of those steps in a blog post titled, “Going Public: SendGrid and the Diversity Data Movement.” The post features Josh Ashton, the Senior Director of People at EA Member SendGrid, and his decision to release SendGrid’s diversity data. You can also use “NCWIT Tips for Startup Members” to learn about major challenges in startup diversity and what you can do to improve recruitment, management, and more at your startup.

Engaging Girls in Making

A new report released by Intel entitled “MakeHers: Engaging Girls and Women in Technology through Making, Creating and Inventing” indicates, “Girls who make, design, and create things with electronic tools develop stronger interest and skills in computer science and engineering.” The report also explains that making is important: “It enables learners to pursue their own interests and work across different disciplines on projects that have a personal relevance for them, deepening their engagement.” NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing Recipient Amaris Benavidez was profiled as an example of a successful young maker. After discovering her love for making and computing, Benavidez said, “I realized that my calling in life was to spread this knowledge to anyone willing to listen.”

The report offered a number of recommendations to better engage girls in making, including, “Align making activities, such as coding and making hardware, with current trends and personal interests to attract girls.” NCWIT’s new e-Textiles Program-in-a-Box introduces girls to making and computing through tangible and physical activities, such as crafting and sewing. e-Textiles-in-a-Box provides instructions for sewing soft circuits and programming an Arduino microprocessor on the way to creating a bookmark book light and an interactive felt monster that lights up and sings. NCWIT has a limited supply of free kits available for those wishing to learn e-Textiles for the purpose of teaching other educators.

Gender Pay Gap

A recent Glassdoor study found that there are pay and satisfaction disparities between men and women at large tech companies. While not based on a representative sample, the study provides one interesting look into employee satisfaction and salaries. In a TechRepublic article about the study, Erin Carson interviewed Scott Dobroski of Glassdoor who said, “The main takeaway is that there is an employee satisfaction and pay gap still within the tech industry right now. It's not all or everything for each company, but what we found is in most cases, men are slightly more satisfied and in most cases, men are still getting paid more for the same role than women.” Carson also interviewed NCWIT Chief Strategy and Growth Office Ruthe Farmer who pointed to unconscious bias training as one part of the solution for these issues. In a related NCWIT blog post, Lucy Mendel, Software Team Lead at WA Member Rackspace, wrote about her experience at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. Mendel surveyed many of the companies at the event to discover what steps, like unconscious bias training, they were taking to create more supportive environments for women.

Unconscious bias is an important concept to understand because the barriers encountered by women in tech aren’t always overt. Learning to identify hidden roadblocks will help you hire and retain technical women. NCWIT’s first interactive video resource, “Unconscious Bias and Why It Matters for Women in Tech,” is a useful tool to get you started on this subject.