This newsletter provides a monthly recap of the biggest headlines about women and computing, news about NCWIT, and links to resources to equip you as change leaders for increasing women’s participation in technology. Practices or content of the news presented are not vetted or endorsed by NCWIT.
The Center for American Entrepreneurship (CAE), a nonpartisan research, policy, and advocacy organization, and the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), today released a new analysis by Research Director Ian Hathaway: “The Ascent of Women-Founded Venture-Backed Startups in the United States.”
The report adds to the relatively limited research in this area by studying patterns of women-founded, venture-backed startups in the United States between 2005 and 2017. While others have tended to look at topline aggregates of venture deals and funding amounts by the gender composition of founding teams, CAE’s report focuses on the number of new companies entering the venture-backed pipeline each year by tracking “first financings” (initial venture investments).
In her own foreword to the report, Lucy Sanders, co-founder and chief executive officer of NCWIT, writes: “Technology innovation is a creative process; multiple people work on a single product or service, from company startup and front-end requirements generation, through design and development, to product rollout and support. It matters who sits at the design table and in the boardroom working on these innovative efforts. Just as in the creation of great art, inspirational music, or a fine meal, technology creation benefits from diverse life experiences. The Center for American Entrepreneurship commissioned this effort because of our belief that inclusive leaders are informed leaders. That’s why, after reading this report, we encourage you to share it with a colleague.”
Organize: Broadening Participation in Computing State Summit Toolkit // www.ncwit.org/organize
Advancing K-16 computing education in a state is a complex and collaborative endeavor. Computing education state summits are an important part of this process and can help to develop and advance a state’s strategy both for expanding computing education access and for broadening participation in computing (BPC). In particular, summits can promote equity and democratize change efforts by giving voice to all stakeholders in a collaborative and action-oriented environment.
NCWIT Research Scientist and EngageCSEdu Director Beth Quinn revealed ‘what’s next’ for EngageCSEdu, a platform where instructors can find and share high quality, engaging course materials for introductory college and high school computing courses, in ACM Inroads. Among the plans for taking EngageCSEdu to the next level is the appointment of two Editors in Chief, Dr. Briana Morrison (University of Nebraska Omaha) and Professor Michelle Craig (University of Toronto), as a first step in establishing an editorial process fully aligned to a peer review journal.
In accepting their appointments, Dr. Morrison noted that, “in moving fully to a journal model our goal is for EngageCSEdu to become the place where computing educators go to find the best possible resources for their courses; ones that promote good practices and are inviting for all.” Professor Craig added, “We also want to build a way for teaching faculty — and all faculty — to demonstrate excellence in teaching. We envision faculty at all levels listing EngageCSEdu publications as evidence of their teaching excellence. In this, EngageCSEdu can be of real service to the CS education community.”
The Editors in Chief will also increase the capacity to keep the NCWIT Engagement Practices Framework relevant, accurate, and useful. Engagement Practices are teaching practices that faculty can use to help broaden participation in computing, focused on growing an inclusive student community, making it matter, and building student confidence and professional identity. These practices are especially impactful in early courses when students are deciding whether to pursue a computing major.
Learn more about Engagement Practices, and search through more than 800 materials from CS0, CS1, and CS2 courses (with more submissions by and for high school computing teachers coming soon) at https://www.engage-csedu.org/.
And, should you happen to be at SIGCSE, be sure to stop by the EngageCSEdu booth and panel. Get all of the details at www.ncwit.org/NCWITatSIGCSE.
Women are over-mentored and under-sponsored, relative to their male peers. (Men are 45 percent more likely to have a sponsor than women across industry sectors.) What’s the difference between sponsors and mentors? While mentors advise, sponsors act. As outlined in the NCWIT Sponsorship Toolkit, sponsors connect proteges to career opportunities, advocate for protégé’s advancement, support risk-taking, publicly endorse protégés, expect high performance in return, and help protégés confront and interrupt bias.
As noted by AnitaB.org CEO and President Brenda Darden Wilkerson, “a sponsor has a space at the table and not only advocates for the women they are helping, but they also push to hire, retain, and advance more diverse talent… The reason sponsorship is so important is the measurable differences on career development and advancement than mentorship alone.”
Sponsors can make a world of difference in anyone’s career, but research shows that they can be especially important for female or other employees who are a minority in a majority-group environment. The facts in the NCWIT “Sponsors vs. Mentors: What’s the Difference? (Infographic)” emphasize the impact of sponsorship. Compared to unsponsored women, sponsored women get better pay, more high profile assignments, and improved advancements, while sponsored mothers are more likely to stay employed.
Ready to identify potential protégés and become an effective sponsor? Check out 10 recommendations to start you off on the right path: www.ncwit.org/top10sponsortips.