Here is a brief round-up of information and news that crossed NCWIT’s radar recently and which we think will be of interest to you. The practices or content of the news gathered (while not endorsed or vetted by NCWIT) is meant to spark new conversations and ideas surrounding the current diversity statistics and trends in the tech workforce.
Did you know that social science can support equity initiatives?
Nicki Washington, a professor of the practice of computer science at Duke University and a past NCWIT Conversations for Change speaker, recently launched a course focused on Race, Class, Gender, and Computing. The course takes a social science approach to explore the factors that complicate diversity initiatives and the effect a lack of diversity has on technical innovation.
Highlighting topics like race, gender, ability, sexuality, and other aspects of our intersecting identities, Washington explores how these identities are shaped and impacted by technology. While most diversity initiatives center around recruiting women and other underrepresented students and employees, it’s essential to address the culture of an organization to make substantive change.
As Washington says in an announcement for the course, “[W]e have to not only change the opportunity pipeline, we need to change the working environment itself. We have to change the mindset of a workforce that is overwhelmingly white, Asian and male so that we all recognize that new perspectives lead to more innovation.”
To learn more about the importance of diversity to emerging technologies, check out these resources:
- re:think Magazine // https://ncwit.org/news-events/rethink/
- What is the Impact of Gender Diversity on Technology Business Performance? Research Summary // https://ncwit.org/resource/businesscase/
- Women in Tech: The Facts // https://ncwit.org/resource/thefacts/
Did you know that a lack of diversity may be fueling the Great Resignation?
The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives in ways we’re still trying to make sense of. Droves of employees left their jobs during the pandemic, and many employers are struggling to fill the positions left behind. A new report from Wiley Publishing suggests that the lack of diversity in the tech workforce contributes to these difficulties.
A survey of young workers (ages 18-28) found that half (50 percent) “had left or wanted to leave a tech or IT job ‘because the company culture made them feel unwelcome or uncomfortable,’ with a higher percentage of women and Asian, Black, and Hispanic respondents each saying they had such an experience. And 68% of respondents said they have felt uncomfortable in a tech role because of ‘their gender/ethnicity/socio-economic background or neurodevelopmental condition.’”
The report highlights the importance of building bridges from college into the workforce, training, mentorship, and training employees to recognize and interrupt unconscious bias throughout the hiring process.
To learn more about the ways companies can support a diverse workforce, check out these resources:
- Sponsorship Toolkit // https://ncwit.org/resource/sponsor/
- Interrupting Bias in Industry Settings // https://ncwit.org/resource/biasindustry/
- NCWIT Checklist for Reducing Unconscious Bias in Job Descriptions/Advertisements // https://ncwit.org/resource/jobdescriptionchecklist/
Did you know that Power On!, a graphic novel promoting diversity in tech, is coming soon?
Power On! is an original graphic novel inspired by young people whose views deserve to be heard – yet who too often find that the technologies they use promote practices that keep them marginalized. Written by education researchers Jean J. Ryoo and Jane Margolis (a founding member of NCWIT’s Social Science Advisory Board) and illustrated by Charis JB, Power On! highlights why CS matters, why underrepresentation matters, and the importance of student voice and agency in their CS education.
This book follows the lives and experiences of four high school students from diverse backgrounds as they confront the harm technology has done in their own community. We follow them as they awaken to how technology can perpetuate racism and inequality and discover that the technologies available to them don’t reflect the voices and perspectives of themselves: women, people of color, LGBTQ+, and immigrant communities. In response, the four friends seek out computing experiences that are both personally and politically empowering, and decide to use what they’ve learned to take a stand for all students to learn computer science.
Informed by decades of educational research and young reader feedback about learning computing, Power On! brings to life the ethical complexities of technology and why young readers need the knowledge to be critical creators of technology, not merely users who are shaped and influenced by it.
Watch the trailer and pre-order now at poweronbook.com.
Published by the MIT Press, the book is available starting April 19, 2022.
Interested in learning more about the importance of cultural competence when teaching computing? Check out these resources:
- Intersectionality in Tech 101 // https://ncwit.org/resource/intersectionality101/
- How Can You Engage A Diverse Range of Girls in Technology? // https://ncwit.org/resource/how-can-you-engage-diverse-range-girls-computing/
- Top 10 Ways to Engage Underrepresented Students in Computing // https://ncwit.org/resource/top10engagestudents/