New Modern Figures Podcast Highlights the Importance of Intersectionality in Tech

At NCWIT, our mission is to increase the meaningful representation of all women in the field of computing. Lessons from previous gender equity efforts have demonstrated that attending to the experiences, needs, and conditions faced by all women is complicated. Without explicit and careful attention to intersectionality, such efforts often default to a focus on straight, middle or upper class, white women — thus marginalizing the concerns of women of color, LGBTQIA people, working class women, and women with disabilities (to name just a few). Whether intentional or unintentional, we cannot allow this to be the “default.”

Much has been written about the various ways to avoid this narrowing, with researchers and practitioners describing and debating the pros and cons of different strategies. Because there are no easy answers and because the various strategies have different advantages and disadvantages, we believe that it is important for NCWIT to take multiple approaches in attending to intersectionality and to addressing the concerns of all women.

One approach involves highlighting very specific intersections, for example, race/ethnicity and gender (e.g., black girls, Latinas) or girls from underserved economic areas. Along these lines, a new podcast presented by the Institute for African-American Mentoring in Computing Sciences (iAAMCS), a national resource for all African-American computer science students and faculty, in collaboration with NCWIT launched on Monday, January 28. Modern Figures Podcast (http://modernfigurespodcast.com/) guest stars Black women in computing who share their stories and perspectives on technical, societal, and personal topics. Geared toward women of color in STEM, especially high school and college students, the podcast also highlights the interestingly relatable, pivotal moments along their journey in computing.

To listen to the podcast, visit Apple iTunes, Google Podcast, Spotify, or Stitcher. Subscribe at http://modernfigurespodcast.com/subscribe-to-podcast/. Additionally, you can follow @modernfigurespodcast on Facebook and Instagram, and @ModFigsPodcast on Twitter.

For an understanding of other approaches and ways to consider intersectionality, revisit the “All Women Includes ALL Women: The Importance of Multiple Approaches to Intersectionality” blog at www.ncwit.org/intersectionalityblog.