With the rise in tech careers growing at a rapid rate, there is a noticeable, urgent need for inclusion in the wide-ranging digital industry, particularly for black women.
For years the black female faces and voices were virtually nonexistent in the digital discussion, but now that is quickly changing as more minorities are becoming trailblazers in field.
“Technology is the future and those of us who are participating as creators, instead of just consumers will benefit the most,” says Lovette Ajayi, award-winning digital strategist and blogger of Awesomely Luvvie. “African-American women need to be a part of the digital industry so that our voices are heard.”
To do so, it is crucial that future leaders get the exposure and tools they need early on. Read about the latest organizations proactively building the next generation of women in tech.
What started as a small Meetup has now evolved into a group of more than 1,000 female professionals in the New York tri-state area in varied fields in technology, including mobile app entrepreneurs, data analysts, and social media managers. The group’s aim is creating friendly, approachable buddy systems who can attend the male-dominated industry events together in New York City.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg leveraged her best-selling book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” and created an online platform empowering women from all fields in every stage of their career. Users can create circles and connect with other female professionals through sharing their personal stories of professional growth.
Founder Kimberly Bryant is looking for the next Mark Zuckerberg and believes her organization Black Girls Code will help create her. The non-profit, which teaches girls ages 7 to 17 about programming and technology, hosts workshops in several cities across the country on HTML, CSS, basic web structure, and now robotics.
The Washington D.C.-based lunch series has spawned in other markets including New York and Chicago since its first lunch in 2011. “ColorComm programs break the rules of how networking was done in the past,” says ColorComm founder Lauren Wesley Wilson. “Often times I may walk into a room knowing no one and leave knowing everyone. The organization is very welcoming and inclusive.” Primarily focused on connecting women in public relations with their intimate events, the network has held events with companies in digital media, including CocoaFab.
The non-profit social network’s mission is encouraging and empowering like-minded, intelligent and influential women to enter technology and STEM careers with confidence. The organization, headquartered in San Francisco, California, has 25 active chapters worldwide that provide educational workshops, conferences, mentorship programs, and recruitment opportunities.
This professional mentorship and exchange program, developed in response to President Obama’s efforts to strengthen relations between the United States and the Middle East and North Africa, focuses on female empowerment through technology. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton first announced the initiative in 2010, and soon after TechWomen launched with 37 participants from North Africa and the Palestinian Territories in 2011. In 2013, the program will continue expanding to women from Cameroon and Kenya.
Lenora Houseworth is a social media strategist and freelance journalist in the New York City area. Follow her on Twitter at @LenoraTheScribe.