In June 2017, we launched the Women of Color in Technology Initiative with funding from Turner, an AnitaB.org Partner and a sponsor of the 2018 Grace Hopper Celebration. As part of this initiative, we produced the Women of Color in Technology Innovation Lab in collaboration with Culture Shift Labs at the 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration. This symposium convened industry partners, academics, innovators, and entrepreneurs, and promoted solutions for large scale social change for women in tech.
We are pleased to announce that Turner will be funding the Women of Color in Technology Initiative again this year, allowing us to explore new opportunities to help close one of the most persistent gaps in technology, and to promote racial and gender equity in the field.
The Women of Color in Technology Initiative focuses on improving the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women of color in tech, with an emphasis on underrepresented minority (URM) women. Our goal is to introduce diversity and inclusion strategies, and establish strategic partnerships that not only increase the number of women of color in tech but also leverage their skills and perspectives for technological innovation and social change.
“Women of color make up less than 10% of the mid-career, senior, and C-suite workforce,” said Brenda Darden Wilkerson, President and CEO of AnitaB.org. “We at AnitaB.org are dedicated to changing this statistic and ensuring that these women have a seat at the table. We are so grateful to Turner for sponsoring the Women of Color in Technology Initiative and helping us achieve this goal.”
One of the ways Turner aims to help us support URM women is by mentoring students from historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and minority-serving institutions. Through this mentorship program, students will gain both the skills and confidence they need to succeed in their future careers.
“We are proud to partner with AnitaB.org to support the advancement of women in tech and build on Grace Hopper’s legacy by helping build an industry that is truly diverse and inclusive,” said Jeremy Legg, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Turner. “We look forward to supporting these talented young leaders throughout their careers and beyond.”
Our focus from now until 2020 will be on supporting URM women from the following groups:
- African/African American/Black
- Native American/American Indian/Alaska Native
We will also focus on the idea of intersectionality — the overlapping categories of difference and discrimination that affect inclusion in the workplace. Categories such as race, gender, age, and class all overlap and effect a person’s experience. We will help organizations address these different forms of bias and create more effective diversity and inclusion strategies. We will also use an intersectional framework to help us with our own outreach, programming, and research.
Our current efforts and goals for 2018 include:
- Producing compelling visual content (video and/or photography) on URM women in tech that will inform and inspire the industry to take more action using an intersectional reference point.
- Raising the visibility of unsung heroes and role models around the U.S., and working with AnitaB.org Local communities to identify issues facing these women and their affinity groups.
- Partnering with organizations working with URM women in tech to distribute complimentary GHC registrations as well as GHC discount codes for early registration.
- Providing GHC scholarships for URM women to local nonprofits in Houston (the 2018 Grace Hopper Celebration host city), to be awarded based on mutually defined selection criteria.
- Develop a leadership engagement strategy involving executive stakeholders (CXOs, HR, and D&I leaders)
Additionally, we will use our Top Companies for Women Technologists program to collect data on and gain insights into women of color technologists employed by our company participants. By collecting data points on women of color, Top Companies will direct attention toward this overlooked population and encourage companies to take more effective action.
We want to thank Turner for sponsoring the AnitaB.org Women of Color in Technology Initiative. With this dedicated funding, we will be able to connect with global change agents – through collaboration and mutual learning – and collectively move our dream of a truly diverse and inclusive tech industry closer to reality.