Thanks to our fantastic Doris Duke Conservation Scholars for contributing sporadic blog posts this semester. Here are some things they’re working on and thinking about.
Women in Tech: Still a long way to go
Throughout history women have been oppressed by structural sexism and have had to fight for basic legal rights and career opportunities. Although progressive movements for women’s rights have made significant progress, the fight for equality is still a prominent issue around the world. Last week I went to an event called Women in Tech: A Panel at the Berkeley Forum. This talk addressed how despite the tech industry’s efforts towards inclusion and diversity, the number of women in some tech-related fields has plummeted. In many of the largest tech companies, women make up less than a quarter of the employee population. Women who enter the tech industry face rampant biases and stereotypes; for example, a study showed that half of women with careers in STEM fields eventually leave their jobs because of hostile work environments. The panelists for this event consisted of many diverse women such as: Iris Kuo: co-founder and CEO of LedBetter, Natalie Nakai: co-founder of the XX+UX Mentorship Program and Design Manager at Course Hero, Fatema Kothari: Board Member at SF-Internet Society & Girls in Tech SF and Senior Consultant at T-Mobile, Paulette Penzvalto: Lead, Autistics@ and Autistic Women@Google, Member of the Google Disability Alliance. The purpose of this panel was to bring together women in the tech field to discuss solutions to the systemic issues they face. I felt that one of the most compelling solutions was to resist the normalizations of these stereotypes, and to continue challenging companies to meet standards of equality. And if companies keep failing to adapt to this movement, we must not be scared to innovate and become CEO’s of companies we create ourselves. Overall, I thought the talk was very powerful and applicable to the fight for Women’s Rights in 2017.