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.
Women & IT News
Women Leaving Tech Jobs
By far, the most popular article we shared in February was, “Women Are Leaving the Tech Industry in Droves,” published in the LA Times on February 22. The article cited a 2008 Harvard Business Review study that found, “50% of women working in science, engineering and technology will, over time, leave because of hostile work environments.” Tracey Lien, the author of the article wrote, “Women in tech say filling the pipeline of talent won’t do much good if women keep quitting — it’s like trying to fill a leaking bucket.” While the topic of recruiting women is regularly in the news, retention is often overlooked. NCWIT’s “Top 10 Ways Managers Can Retain Technical Women,” offers tips that supervisors can readily adopt to improve retention for all employees. They are particularly useful for retaining women and employees from underrepresented groups.
Diversity Among Women in Tech
In an article entitled, “More White Women Does Not Equal Tech Diversity,” Nicole Sanchez argued, “White women are a small sliver of the available talent, but are currently used as the proxy for all diversity. What works for them is not what works for us.” She explained that in order to achieve true diversity, the specific needs of women of color must also be considered. She critiqued some strategies that encouraged women to assimilate to the existing culture in tech workplaces, arguing, “If assimilation is the expectation, those of us who are non-white, older than 40, disabled, trans, not neurotypical, queer, from low-income backgrounds, and/or a host of other identities will continue to be locked out of tech.”
First-Person Account of CS at Stanford
One other article that was particularly popular on social media in February was “A Female Computer Science Major at Stanford: ‘Floored’ by the Sexism.” Written by Lea Coligado and published by Fortune, the article was a first-person account of the writer’s experience as a computer science major at Stanford University. Coligado wrote of being isolated as one of only a few females in computing classes and explained in detail about the challenges she faced in wearing clothing. She wrote, “I noticed I got better feedback from interviewers when I ‘looked the part.’ So on days I had on campus interviews, I sacrificed my dresses for boxy company tee-shirts. Even when I did wear company tee-shirts, I was sometimes assumed to be a recruiter in the same way women in scrubs are assumed to be nurses.”
NCWIT In The News
College Faculty Diversity
NCWIT Senior Social Scientist Catherine Ashcraft was quoted in a Wired article entitled, “College Faculties Have a Serious Diversity Problem.” The article describes a research project, the goal of which was to determine how influential a degree from a prestigious university was in the computer science faculty hiring process. Aaron Clauset, who directed the study, found, “In computer science, just 18 institutions produced half of all faculty jobs.” A similar bias exists in the technology industry, as Ashcraft explains, “They share the problem of giving preferential consideration — sometimes almost exclusive consideration — to graduates from the top universities.” Despite these numbers, there are many paths to careers in IT. NCWIT has resources that outline both Military and Community College pathways to computing careers.
Google RISE Awards
Out of 37 organizations to receive the 2015 Google RISE Award, two came from CU-Boulder: NCWIT AspireIT and the Scalable Game Design program. The Awards grant funds to organizations and programs that “promote Computer Science (CS) education” and “run initiatives that reach girls, underrepresented minorities, and students facing socio-economic barriers under age 18.”
Diversity in Tech Data Points
NCWIT’s “By The Numbers” resource was featured in a Tech Republic article entitled, “Diversity in Tech: 10 Data Points You Should Know.” Lyndsey Gilpin, who wrote the article, explained that the issue of diversity in tech was glaring: “To put the problem in perspective, I gathered some of the most relevant data about diversity in the tech industry and compiled it into this list.”
NCWIT Programs, Campaigns, Supporters, and New Resources
Participate with Women Techmakers
In conjunction with International Women’s Day on March 8, NCWIT has partnered with Google to present the Women Techmakers Global Event Series — events geared towards increasing visibility, community, and resources for women in technology. These summits will be hosted at Google offices and locations around the world, and will feature panel discussions, technical talks with female technology leaders, career-planning discussions, networking opportunities, and more. Space is limited and based on applications. Complete your two-minute application today, or follow #womentechmakers to catch the action.
Academic Alliance Seed Fund
Earlier this month NCWIT and Microsoft Research announced the recipients of the Academic Alliance Seed Fund. Non-profit, U.S. academic institutions will use these funds to develop and implement initiatives for recruiting and retaining women in computing fields.
NCWIT at SIGCSE
Are you attending SIGCSE 2015? Make sure to check out this NCWIT blog post that details all the ways you can interact with NCWIT at this conference. From posters, to panels, to demos of EngageCSEdu, NCWIT will be a major presence at SIGCSE. We’d love to see you while we’re there! Come find us at the Broadening Participation in Computing booth.
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