While in Idaho I noticed on many occasions grassroots to get more women into tech by teaching little girls how to code. That’s it. I asked the organizers what happened to the girls that they supposedly taught how to code, but only got shrugs and indignant stares. At that point I realized we have a very big problem. By teaching the little girls how to code, we delude ourselves that we are doing good, that there will be more women in tech, and we do not need to do anything else.
“Increase the pipeline” is another phrase I heard a lot from Idaho leaders and good-doers. Working on getting more women in and out of a computer science degree is a very important goal, and I discovered that the university has been a lot more proactive in what they achieved compared to, say, Idaho Technology Council. But past school the support for women in tech becomes spotty. The leaders that I was fortunate to work with helped me grow in my career and made sure that I went further. In a way, I was lucky I met them, yet at the same time I chose very carefully who I work with. Yet there were leaders who I talked to at conferences and job interviews who made me realize how far from the goal of getting more women into tech we actually are.
What can post-school organizations and tech companies do to break the status quo and make a real difference beyond showing a couple little girls how to place 3D objects in Scratch?