Written By: Candice Roberts
Women from all over the world gathered from the comfort of their homes to virtually attend the 2020 Girls in Tech Conference. A celebration of the strides that women have made in working to erase the gender gap in the tech industry while also addressing the need for more work to be done. More diversity, more inclusivity, more representation, and more responsibility from Tech leaders to include women of all backgrounds in positions ranging from entry-level to the C-suite.
Despite being 47% of the U.S. labor force, women occupy just 28% of all STEM jobs. For Blacks and Hispanics, the numbers are even more excessive: According to the National Science Board, fewer than 1 in 20 of today’s scientists and engineers are minority women.
With so many women virtually cheering each other on in the Conference’s live chat, you couldn’t help but feel girl power at its highest level. They shared their stories, their experiences, and their struggles while offering quality advice and tips to the next generation of girls looking to climb the tech ladder.
Latinx leaders in tech Lili Gangas, Chief Technology Officer at the Kapor Center, and Raquel Tamez, CEO, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), spoke specifically to the lack of Latinx representation in tech and initiatives that help break barriers and provide pathways to digital access and upskilling for their community.
SHPE seeks to empower the Latinx community to realize its fullest potential and impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support, and development, while the Kapor Center aims to make technology and entrepreneurship more diverse and inclusive by building a community of tech leaders that reflects the diversity of the United States.
Female leaders from HP, Twitter, and General Motors, among others, reinforced the Girls in Tech mission to “provide experiences and educational opportunities, to help women discover their unique superpower and hone it. And to see every woman accepted, confident, and valued in tech, just as they are.”
So, how do women achieve success in the male-dominated tech industry? The short answer, according to Laura Drabik, Chief Evangelist at Guidewire Software and keynote speaker, “It’s no picnic. But it is possible—if you learn how to move the ball forward with confidence. For every project that anybody came to me, I’d say YES. Why? Because I realized I needed to build my knowledge to read, learn, and push myself in ways that men might not have to. To get a seat at the table, it’s not about resenting double standards or tallying up inequities; it’s about overcoming them, it’s about proving our worth and earning our respect.”