About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
I can’t be with you in person today, but I want to say how happy I am that you’re here. You believe in the power of technology to make the world a better place for everybody. You also know that the technology industry needs to represent everybody, and you’re giving your time and your talent to make that a reality.
When NCWIT set a goal of doubling the number of diverse, four-year tech degree recipients by 2024, they weren’t giving themselves an easy task. Normally, you see goals like that set for 15 or 30 years in the future, but not six. But, NCWIT isn’t messing around — and I’m glad — because we can’t afford to mess around.
We’ve all seen, time and time again, how both diversity and a lack of diversity affects the quality of technology. The work you do to make tech more diverse will drive innovation, and it will increase economic opportunity for underrepresented groups, especially girls and women, and particularly, girls and women of color. So thanks to your leadership and your dedication, this community is making big strides. Many of you are involved in efforts to help computer science departments around the country, so they can attract, support, [and] graduate, more underrepresented students. Many of you are also working hard to create welcoming, professional environments where all people can thrive and lead.
There’s still a lot of work to do, but with you in it for the long haul, I know we’ll get it done. Especially because I see you focusing, not on the obstacles in our way, but on the solution that will help us overcome them. Your commitment to equity and creativity in technology inspires me. I want to congratulate you on getting us to where we are today, and I want to thank you in advance for how far I know you’ll take us tomorrow.