Resources

Whether you’re in a classroom or a boardroom, NCWIT can help you kick-start or deepen your inclusive culture. Take advantage of hundreds of free and easy-to-use resources for K–12, higher education, and corporations that support your effort to raise awareness, increase knowledge, and empower action to make sure every voice is heard.

 

Talking Points

Institutional barriers (IBs) are policies, procedures, or situations that systematically disadvantage certain groups of people. IBs exist in any majority-minority group situation. When an initial population is fairly similar (e.g., in male-dominated professions), systems naturally emerge to meet the needs of this population. If these systems do not change with the times, they can inhibit the success of new members with different needs. IBs often seem natural or “just the way things are around here.”

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Sexism has measurably harmful effects, but sexist behavior can be minimized. Instructors and supervisors can practice zero tolerance and facilitate positive peer interactions, and they can provide highly visible leadership, policies, and procedures that go beyond legalities to explicitly denounce sexism.

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Positive leader-member relationships are characterized by exchanges of trust, respect, and low formality. They measurably improve performance, job satisfaction, and commitment.

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Communicating for Change: Persuade Colleagues to Get on Board

Changing the culture of an organization to one that promotes women’s participation in computing requires that members reach new understandings and act in new ways. Enlisting allies in this process requires persuasive communication. This resource provides guidance on the four distinct and necessary steps for the long-term process of effective persuasion.

For more information on the Extension Services program, visit ncwit.org/extensionservices.

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Flexible work arrangements and career paths, along with re-entry training and support, can attract and retain mid-career female employees. 

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Diverse work teams can improve innovation, problem-solving, and productivity.

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Significant evidence suggests that diverse work teams produce tangible benefits, including improved innovation, problem-solving, and productivity.

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Companies that establish organizational accountability for diversity, whether in the form of full-time diversity staff or a diversity task force, are more likely to increase the representation of women and minorities in management than companies that use only mentoring or diversity training programs. 

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Whether or not an organization will fully benefit from diversity depends on how its members answer the questions, “What do we do with this diversity? Why do we want a diversified workforce?” Organizations must explicitly address these questions if they are to prevent diversity efforts from backfiring and if they are to reap the oft-touted benefits of better performance and productivity. Three organizational diversity paradigms are presented along with the assumptions and practices, pros, and cons of each.

Mentoring-in-a-Box: Technical Women at Work

Technical women face challenges, from institutionalized bias to differences in communication styles to a lack of female role models. Developed in collaboration with AnitaB.org, Mentoring-in-a-Box: Technical Women at Work helps women excel in the technical professions and advance to positions of leadership.

 

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In addition to demonstrating expertise and experience, intentional role models display their strengths and weaknesses and help observers see how they could attain a similar position. Role modeling is less interactive than mentoring, but is often a component of mentoring relationships.

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By removing time and location constraints, e-mentoring allows women to connect with many more women than face-to-face mentoring permits. It can also promote more open mentor-protégé communication by limiting status differences.

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Paired mentors and protégés exchange advice for career advancement and reduced turnover. Formal mentoring programs may include organized activities that provide a framework for the mentor-protégé relationship and can lead to more rapid career advancement and higher career satisfaction for participants than non-participants.

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