Last weekend, 1,500 people gathered in Seattle for the Hopperx1 Seattle, a local Grace Hopper celebration of women in technology.
Seattle is home to many of the world’s largest tech companies. While the overall workforce is comprised of (roughly) 50 percent women, in technology, the ratios are very different – approximately 25 percent of the tech workforce is made up of women.
With 92 speakers, 31 sponsors, over 100 volunteers, and 1,500 attendees representing industry leaders, students, tech founders, and an incredible array of roles and expertise, Hopperx1 Seattle hopes to help build and reinforce a strong community of technical women in the Seattle area.
I wanted to share three takeaways, for men to consider attending conferences celebrating women in technology.
- Your participation is required! – as industry, if we are going to address the engineering shortage – as every company becomes a tech company – then we need more women engineers – and that will require male managers to take a more active role. Take time to join your local AnitaB.org community or Women’s ERG. Attend conferences and take the time to learn.
- Diverse teams are more creative and innovative – if you are a male manager – or an HR professional supporting a male manager, you/he will be a better leader and have a more innovative team if you can build a diverse team and create an inclusive culture. There’s plenty of research to show this. Scott E. Page has some great work here, as well as AnitaB.org and NCWIT.
- This is a technology conference first and foremost – and a lot to learn, whether it be data science, mobile technology, AI, STEM, etc.
Seattle is fortunate to have a great community for women in technology. As Sheila Oh, community leader for the Seattle AnitaB.org community said, “It was refreshing to see so many allies at the event. Men came up to me and asked, “What sessions should I go to?” and “How can I help?” This is exactly what is needed! So, when in your next meeting, take note of the dominant voices. If the voice of women or underrepresented minorities is not being heard, ask questions or amplify what is being said. We need your support to help provide equal access, opportunity, and representation.”
There is a lot that we can all do to build a brighter future for technology by ensuring we have supportive and inclusive cultures that ensure everyone can play a role.