The tech industry has always struggled with inclusion. Even as recently as 2019, women only held about a quarter of all jobs in the computing field, even though they make up 47 percent of the workforce overall. And although the IT industry continues to grow, the number of women in the field has not improved much over time. Over a span of ten years, the percentage of women in tech has remained around 25 percent, according to data provided by the National Center for Women & Information Technology.
But women within tech have been working to spark change from the inside. They’ve created communities, initiatives, and organizations to improve the industry overall and advance gender equality. Two women in tech who we want to highlight in this blog specifically are tech-stars Melinda Gates and Kimberly Bryant.
Kimberly Bryant has focused on getting the younger generations interested in tech. She founded Black Girls Code in 2011 to help girls of color enter and succeed in the tech industry. BGC hosts bootcamps, workshops, educational sessions, and after-school sessions in seven states with plans to expand.
In Bryant’s words, BCG aims to “provide young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time when they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.” By including girls, especially girls of color at this age, one can hope that the future of women in tech will naturally grow.
Melinda Gates announced the Gender Equality in Tech Cities initiative, which focuses on current women professionals in tech. According to its website, “GET Cities is working to develop inclusive tech hubs across the United States.” The initiative aims to accomplish its goal by “building pathways into tech, aligning local tech and entrepreneurial ecosystems, and supporting both short- and long-term change.” Gates’ initiative will kickoff in Chicago in late 2020, and eventually expand to other cities.
There is still a lot of room for change in the tech industry, but as these women show, achieving equality is a goal worth striving for and attaining.