Our newest member guest blog post is by Elizabeth Lindsey, executive director of Byte Back. Byte Back improves economic opportunity by providing computer training and career preparation to underserved Washington, D.C. metro area residents.
Just 25 percent of the computing workforce in the U.S. is women. For women of color, this drops drastically, with just three percent of the workforce made up of African American women and one percent Latina women.
Only 17 percent of Fortune 500 Chief Information Officer (CIO) positions were held by women in 2015.1
March 8 is International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate progress, recognize deficits and act for equality. Today is the perfect day to give a woman her start in tech.
When women are offered the chance to learn and use technology the same as men, women access vital life opportunities, including high-paying jobs, healthcare, sexual and gender violence services, family care, and more.
With technology, women can connect to the world and build connections to employers, friends and family. With technology, women can move into jobs to support their families – tech jobs, white collar jobs and medial jobs. With technology, women can help their families – teach their children, communicate with teachers and open up a world of knowledge.
It doesn’t have to be expensive, or complicated. So much can be solved by teaching women how to use technology. With a small investment in women’s lives, we can have a huge impact on social change.
Today, we urge you to find a way to support women, whether it’s as a mentor, a volunteer, a supporter of a community organization or as a recruiter. There are countless organizations opening opportunities for women to cross the digital divide and to advance in IT careers, and we encourage you to be a part of this movement.
By 2024, the number of U.S. computing-related job openings expected to be 1.1 million.1 If we all work together, we can make sure women not only fill more technology positions, but have the power to use technology to change lives.
In Byte Back’s 20 years, their demographics have never reflected the outside tech world. Increasing opportunities for underserved residents goes hand-in-hand with increasing diversity in tech companies. In 2016, 417 women, or 61 percent of the student body, found empowering tech skills for free at Byte Back.
1 National Center for Women & Information Technology. (2016). By the Numbers.