As the tech field continues to expand, the amount of women filling roles in this industry is experiencing steady growth as well. AnitaB.org, a company committed to women in technical fields, organizations that employ them and academic institutions training future female tech leaders, has recently released its second diversity report.
The report began by highlighting the organization's accomplishments from 2017, including the hiring of their new President and CEO, Brenda Darden Wilkerson, a black woman who formerly served as the Director of Computer Science and IT Education for Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Other notable changes include their new name/brand and new community group. They also recently connected with women globally at their Grace Hopper Celebration India, and they held their largest domestic Grace Hopper Celebration in Orlando with 18,000 people in attendance.
With all the major changes that took place, they also saw significant improvements to their numbers in accordance with their goals to increase racial diversity and create a "gender balance" among employees. In 2017, according to their report, "(their) staff grew from 4.2% to 11% male overall, and (their) leadership team grew from 5% male to more than 16%."
Also, as can be seen in the AnitaB.org charts below, they have just under 60 employees, of which one is Native American, seven are black, seven are Latinx, three are biracial/multiracial, 13 are Asian, 27 are white and one has an unspecified race.
Wilkerson told techcrunch that one of her goals heading AnitaB.org is to help ensure that they are more inclusive. In her words, they want to "become much more representative of the women (they) support."
In addition to "broadening the tent" and appealing to women of all backgrounds, Wilkerson wants to pay special attention to founders who are women of color. She brought attention to the ProjectDiane2018 report which showed that black women still receive an extremely low amount of venture funding. For example, the report showed that of the startups led by at least one woman founder in 2017 less than four percent were led by black women. The report noted that 14 percent of U.S. women are black.
"We know that women and people of color create solutions that really solve so many people’s problems. Those ideas grow out of the empathy of their experiences," Wilkerson told techcrunch.
She hopes to discover these solution creators through AnitaB.org’s inaugural contest entitled PitcHER. The purpose of the competition is to "bring leading women entrepreneurs to the Grace Hopper Celebration — the world’s largest gathering of women technologists — September 26 to 28, in Houston, Texas, with the goal of supporting, encouraging, and providing new funding opportunities to these entrepreneurs."
The PitcHER website goes on to explain that the 10 finalists will compete onstage at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration for $65,000 which will ultimately be divided between the top three finalists and an "Audience Favorite."
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