Gender Diversity in Technology: Why “Awakening the Mature Geek” and targeting women to re-career into the field of technology is essential

Sister Coder "Aha Moment." The moment the code you wrote actually works!

Sister Coder “Aha Moment.” The moment the code you wrote actually works!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lack of females in the technology industry is the new “hot topic,” but it’s an old issue. As an African American Female in technology, I appreciate the discussion around this issue, however it’s going to take much more than fancy charts, statistics, or one off speeches from the token women in a technology  company to positively shift the technology gender and racial  diversity gap.

Bridging the technology gender gap is definitely possible, however it’s the “action” not the words that will get us there.  The key to bridging that gap is to stop ignoring grown women with the aptitude to code and empower them to re-career into the field of technology.

I am living proof that by “Awakening the Mature Geek,” we can make a major impact on gender gap in the field of technology.  At the age of 25, I was an aspiring mortician until a corporation hired me as a full-time paid employee and  afforded me the opportunity to learn to code in seven different languages in a 13-week program.  I emerged as a Mainframe (yes I’m dating myself) and the rest is history.  Technology literally transformed my life, the life of my family, and positively impacted my community.

The picture in this blog shows one of  Detroit’s based Sisters Code Participants experiencing a “coding ah-ha” moment.  I remember my light bulb moment like it was yesterday.  I wrote code in JCL and COBOL and fell in love with the possibility of learning more.  After learning DB2, CICS, IMS…I felt as if I could change the world.  Bottom-line:  I was enticed to try something different and I was exposed to a new career.

We are missing the mark:  There are lots of programs centered on motivating girls to consider S.T.E.M. field, coding classes not tied to workforce development, the lame excuse of “fitting into the culture,” and I totally disagree with Rev. Jesse Jackson that this is a Civil Rights Issue.  Unfortunately we are missing an entire population of women who have already entered the workforce, can start work tomorrow, bring a different level of expertise, work ethic, and overall a different flavor to the office.

Recently 10 companies released their diversity stats and although the numbers are staggering, I’m confident we can bridge the technology gender gap.  I’ve provided numbers based on overall female employees, female employees in tech jobs, and % of African Americans employed at the company.

  1. Google: Females makeup 30% of the workforce.  2% of employees are African American.
  2. Apple: Females makeup 30% of the workforce is women, however 20% hold tech jobs. 7% of employees are African American.
  3. Facebook: Females makeup 30% of the workforce.  1% of employees are African American.
  4. Twitter: Females makeup 20% of the workforce , however 10% hold tech jobs. 3% of employees are African American.
  5. Yahoo: Females makeup 37% of the workforce.  2% of employees are African American.
  6. LinkedIn: Females makeup 39% of the workforce.  1% of employees are African American.
  7. Pandora: Females makeup 49.2% of the workforce, however 18% hold tech jobs. 3% of employees are African American.
  8. Ebay: Females makeup 42% of the workforce, however 24% hold tech jobs.  7% of employees are African American.
  9. Pinterest: Females makeup 66% of the workforce, however 20% hold tech jobs. 7% of employees are African American.
  10. HP:  Females makeup 32.5% of the workforce. 6.06% are African American.

As a thought leader on empowering women to re-career into the field of technology, I’m willing to do my part.  If we are really serious about bridging the racial and gender technology gap, there must be accountability and engagement among all concerned parties.

Count me in.

he lack of females in the technology industry is the new “hot topic,” but it’s an old issue. As an African American Female in technology, I appreciate the discussion around this issue, however it’s going to take much more than fancy charts, statistics, or one off speeches from the token women in a technology  company to positively shift the technology gender and racial  diversity gap.

Bridging the technology gender gap is definitely possible, however it’s the “action” not the words that will get us there.  The key to bridging that gap is to stop ignoring grown women with the aptitude to code and empower them to re-career into the field of technology.

I am living proof that by “Awakening the Mature Geek,” we can make a major impact on gender gap in the field of technology.  At the age of 25, I was an aspiring mortician until a corporation hired me as a full-time paid employee and  afforded me the opportunity to learn to code in seven different languages in a 13-week program.  I emerged as a Mainframe (yes I’m dating myself) and the rest is history.  Technology literally transformed my life, the life of my family, and positively impacted my community.

The picture in this blog shows one of  Detroit’s based Sisters Code Participants experiencing a “coding ah-ha” moment.  I remember my light bulb moment like it was yesterday.  I wrote code in JCL and COBOL and fell in love with the possibility of learning more.  After learning DB2, CICS, IMS…I felt as if I could change the world.  Bottom-line:  I was enticed to try something different and I was exposed to a new career.

We are missing the mark:  There are lots of programs centered on motivating girls to consider S.T.E.M. field, coding classes not tied to workforce development, the lame excuse of “fitting into the culture,” and I totally disagree with Rev. Jesse Jackson that this is a Civil Rights Issue.  Unfortunately we are missing an entire population of women who have already entered the workforce, can start work tomorrow, bring a different level of expertise, work ethic, and overall a different flavor to the office.

Recently 10 companies released their diversity stats and although the numbers are staggering, I’m confident we can bridge the technology gender gap.  I’ve provided numbers based on overall female employees, female employees in tech jobs, and % of African Americans employed at the company.

  1. Google: Females makeup 30% of the workforce.  2% of employees are African American.
  2. Apple: Females makeup 30% of the workforce is women, however 20% hold tech jobs. 7% of employees are African American.
  3. Facebook: Females makeup 30% of the workforce.  1% of employees are African American.
  4. Twitter: Females makeup 20% of the workforce , however 10% hold tech jobs. 3% of employees are African American.
  5. Yahoo: Females makeup 37% of the workforce.  2% of employees are African American.
  6. LinkedIn: Females makeup 39% of the workforce.  1% of employees are African American.
  7. Pandora: Females makeup 49.2% of the workforce, however 18% hold tech jobs. 3% of employees are African American.
  8. Ebay: Females makeup 42% of the workforce, however 24% hold tech jobs.  7% of employees are African American.
  9. Pinterest: Females makeup 66% of the workforce, however 20% hold tech jobs. 7% of employees are African American.
  10. HP:  Females makeup 32.5% of the workforce. 6.06% are African American.

As a thought leader on empowering women to re-career into the field of technology, I’m willing to do my part.  If we are really serious about bridging the racial and gender technology gap, there must be accountability and engagement among all concerned parties.

Count me in.

- See more at: http://www.marlinpage.com/2014/gender-diversity-in-technology-why-awakening-the-mature-geek-and-targeting-older-women-to-re-career-into-the-field-of-tech-is-essential/#sthash.0hcrB0hQ.dpuf

he lack of females in the technology industry is the new “hot topic,” but it’s an old issue. As an African American Female in technology, I appreciate the discussion around this issue, however it’s going to take much more than fancy charts, statistics, or one off speeches from the token women in a technology  company to positively shift the technology gender and racial  diversity gap.

Bridging the technology gender gap is definitely possible, however it’s the “action” not the words that will get us there.  The key to bridging that gap is to stop ignoring grown women with the aptitude to code and empower them to re-career into the field of technology.

I am living proof that by “Awakening the Mature Geek,” we can make a major impact on gender gap in the field of technology.  At the age of 25, I was an aspiring mortician until a corporation hired me as a full-time paid employee and  afforded me the opportunity to learn to code in seven different languages in a 13-week program.  I emerged as a Mainframe (yes I’m dating myself) and the rest is history.  Technology literally transformed my life, the life of my family, and positively impacted my community.

The picture in this blog shows one of  Detroit’s based Sisters Code Participants experiencing a “coding ah-ha” moment.  I remember my light bulb moment like it was yesterday.  I wrote code in JCL and COBOL and fell in love with the possibility of learning more.  After learning DB2, CICS, IMS…I felt as if I could change the world.  Bottom-line:  I was enticed to try something different and I was exposed to a new career.

We are missing the mark:  There are lots of programs centered on motivating girls to consider S.T.E.M. field, coding classes not tied to workforce development, the lame excuse of “fitting into the culture,” and I totally disagree with Rev. Jesse Jackson that this is a Civil Rights Issue.  Unfortunately we are missing an entire population of women who have already entered the workforce, can start work tomorrow, bring a different level of expertise, work ethic, and overall a different flavor to the office.

Recently 10 companies released their diversity stats and although the numbers are staggering, I’m confident we can bridge the technology gender gap.  I’ve provided numbers based on overall female employees, female employees in tech jobs, and % of African Americans employed at the company.

  1. Google: Females makeup 30% of the workforce.  2% of employees are African American.
  2. Apple: Females makeup 30% of the workforce is women, however 20% hold tech jobs. 7% of employees are African American.
  3. Facebook: Females makeup 30% of the workforce.  1% of employees are African American.
  4. Twitter: Females makeup 20% of the workforce , however 10% hold tech jobs. 3% of employees are African American.
  5. Yahoo: Females makeup 37% of the workforce.  2% of employees are African American.
  6. LinkedIn: Females makeup 39% of the workforce.  1% of employees are African American.
  7. Pandora: Females makeup 49.2% of the workforce, however 18% hold tech jobs. 3% of employees are African American.
  8. Ebay: Females makeup 42% of the workforce, however 24% hold tech jobs.  7% of employees are African American.
  9. Pinterest: Females makeup 66% of the workforce, however 20% hold tech jobs. 7% of employees are African American.
  10. HP:  Females makeup 32.5% of the workforce. 6.06% are African American.

As a thought leader on empowering women to re-career into the field of technology, I’m willing to do my part.  If we are really serious about bridging the racial and gender technology gap, there must be accountability and engagement among all concerned parties.

Count me in.

- See more at: http://www.marlinpage.com/2014/gender-diversity-in-technology-why-awakening-the-mature-geek-and-targeting-older-women-to-re-career-into-the-field-of-tech-is-essential/#sthash.0hcrB0hQ.dpuf

Sisters Code in Dbusiness Magazine

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Seeking to boost the number of women in front-end technology — build­ing Web and mobile applications — Detroiter Marlin Page launched Sisters Code. The Detroit nonprofit aims to provide 2,020 females with employable digital skills by the end of 2020.

Already, 50 women have completed the first 13-week program, held at Microsoft Corp.’s regional offices in Southfield. After 500 women are trained in metro Detroit, Sisters Code will expand its curriculum nation­wide. Beyond that, Page says the nonprofit has the potential to operate in perpetuity.

“We provide the students with an hourly salary, which takes away a lot of the barriers of getting to class each day,” she says. “It’s a radical idea — (paying) people to attend classes — but it’s needed. Plus, we provide one-on-one mentoring, and career and life coaching.”

Each class will have 16 students, and no coding experience is needed. To help raise capital for the effort, Page launched a crowd­funding effort earlier this year, and new classes are being planned.

In-kind donors include Microsoft, Henry Ford Health System, Chalkfly, and the Michigan Council of Women in Technology.

“My goal was to weave technology with empowerment,” says Page, a tech­nology strategist for Microsoft. “I also advise parents on what their children are doing with social media. It’s not something you can leave to chance. You need to monitor everything your children are doing online. db