August 03, 2018 - by Tori Tsu

TGIF: Looking at the diversity gaps in tech

TGIF! This week was all about the gap. Tech's diversity gaps in gender, education, and ethnicity.

Check back at the end of each week for our Friday finds. Here's what we're reading – August 3.

Diversity in the tech industry:

VCs and the education gap

Venture capital's diversity disaster by Megan Rose Dickey for TechCrunch. Tech's diversity crisis: 40% of VCs went to Harvard or Stanford by Dan Primack for Axios.

They say the problem with the diversity pipeline starts when girls and boys are kids in grade school. But the issue with diversity in tech isn't a one-solution-fits-all. And it's not as simple as boys are better at math. These articles focus on the same issue – the lack of diversity in higher education for founders and VCs.

The issue isn't unrelated to the gender or race bias in tech. Studies show that conscious or not, teams hire like-minded colleagues – creating the brogrammer, or homogenous workforce for which tech is often maligned. So how can we get more diverse teams in place? To set the example for the next generation of VCs and engineers, we've got to start from the middle out. By hiring and retaining more diverse talent, the tech industry can show the (positive) impact of having a wider range of team members. It's proven that hiring more women, people of color, and people of diverse backgrounds contributes to a more productive and profitable company.

If our next generation of programmers and entrepreneurs see a diverse workforce and role models from all backgrounds, then what's to stop them from pursing that career path? Hint: nothing.

The gender gap in STEM

Give all American girls tech role models by Reshma Saujani for Daily News, and Female Inventors and Their Inventions That Changed the World and Impacted the History In a Revolutionary Way by Susan Fourtané for Interesting Engineering.

If the titles of these two articles didn't already say it all, look at your own experience. Can you name 10 female scientists or engineers? No? How about five?

One of the reasons Hackbright was founded is because of the gender gap in tech. In fact, many engineering bootcamps have launched women-only tracks or programs focused on underrepresented populations in tech. One of the positive results we see from these programs is that more women in STEM are becoming better known. Edie Windsor, Ada Lovelace, and Grace Hopper to name a few. These trailblazers paved the way for women and other underrepresented groups to have the foothold in the tech industry that we now have. Even The New York Times now ends its daily email with a bio of an unknown or unrecognized woman. The more we can share the stories of women's contributions and accomplishments, the better off we'll be.

How machine learning will influence the future of diversity in tech

How Automation Can Save the Tech Industry From Itself by Nancy Harris for Entrepreneur.

AI and machine learning are hot topics in the realm of tech. And with their soaring popularity, and potential for life-changing technology, there are also those that worry about what impact it will have on society.

Ms. Harris' piece examines the positive impact automation can have on the tech industry's future – specifically around eliminating (un)conscious bias in the hiring process and culture development of teams. Given the number of apps and programs already created to help improve the hiring and recruiting process, we feel hopeful that in the right hands, AI will help shape a more equal future. Even in looking at some of our own student's projects we see how these women are using machine learning to process and analyze data to find the best possible outcomes, or the most democratic choice.

What are you reading, watching, and listening to? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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