Feeding the Diversity Pipeline

Welcoming work environments require multiple components. Most notably, the environment needs to be both diverse and inclusive. A lot of attention has been focused on diversity: on ensuring the pipeline to the workforce has diverse candidates. While it is up to each employer / recruiter to ensure they are reaching out to diverse applicants, many organizations have worked to ensure that, if the recruiter actually looked, they would find diverse candidates.

Below are some organizations doing the work of filling up that pipeline:

National & International “In Person” Groups

Girl Develop It: With locations in 56 cities across 33 US states, Girl Develop provides affordable programs for adult women interested in learning web and software development in a judgment-free environment.

Black Girls Code Black Girls Code provides workshops with the goal of addressing the dearth of African-American women in STEM.

Yes We Code: #YesWeCode targets low-opportunity youth, providing them with the resources and tools to become computer programmers.

Code2040: With outposts in SF, Austin, Chicago, and Durham, Code 2040 creates access, awareness, and opportunities for Black and Latinx engineers

Girls Who Code: Geared toward 13- to 17-year-old girls, Girls Who Code pairs instruction and mentorship to “educate, inspire and equip” students to pursue their engineering and tech dreams.

Write/Speak/Code:  With three chapters in the USA and an annual conference, Write/Speak/Code empowers women and non-binary software developers to become thought leaders, conference speakers, and open source contributors.

Women Who Code: Focusing on women already in tech, the objectives of Women Who Code include providing networking and mentorship opportunities for women in tech around the world

Lesbians who Tech: The goal of Lesbian Who Tech is to make lesbians and their allies in tech more visible to each other and others, to get more women, particularly lesbians, into technology, and to connect lesbians who tech to community LGBTQ and women’s organizations.

Girl Geek Academy: With events in Australia and the USA, Girl Geek Academy initiatives include coding and hackathons, 3D printing and wearables, game development, design, entrepreneurship, and startups. They work with individuals, teachers, schools, corporates, and startups to increase the number of women with professional technical and entrepreneurial skills.

Girls Who Code. With after school clubs for 6th-12th grade girls to explore coding and 7-week summer immersion programs for 10-11th grade girls, Girls Who Code aims to “build the largest pipeline of future female engineers in the United States.”

Girls Inc., Operation SMART: With the premise that girls do like and can be good at STEM, the mission of Girls Inc. is to inspire girls to be strong, smart, and bold. With locations in low-income neighborhoods across the United States and Canada, they provide research-based curricula to equip girls to achieve academically, lead healthy and physically active lives and discover an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math. Girls do like and can be good at STEM. Operation SMART develops girls’ enthusiasm for and skills in STEM through hands-on activities, training, and mentorship.

AnnieCannons: Helps human trafficking survivors gain web development skills

LadiesThatUX.com: A group that creates spaces for women from all levels to engage and talk about their experiences, both positive and negative, and get the support and inspiration, Ladies that UX has over 54 chapters in over 20 countries, spanning four continents.

Technovation: Entrepreneurs, mentors, and educators teaching girls how to become tech entrepreneurs and leaders, from a completing a tech curriculum to launching their mobile app startup.

Regional Efforts

North America

Color Coded: Based in Washington DC, Color Coded is a community for people in tech and people interested in tech.  Their events include workshops, co-working sessions, hackathons, interview preparation, and everything in between.

Native Girls Code: Based in Seattle, Washington, Native Girls Code introduces indigenous teen girls (12 to 18) to opportunities in the field of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM).

Techqueria!: A community of latinx professionals in the tech industry in greater San Francisco Bay Area.

The Last Mile: Based out of San Quentin Prison is the San Francisco Bay area, The Last Mile teaches inmates CSS, JS, HTML and Python with the aim to provide successful reentry and reduce recidivism.

Coder_Girl: Based in St. Louis, Missouri, CoderGirl is a year-long tech training program consisting of two 6-month cycles: a learning cycle and a project cycle. CoderGirl provides a space for women of all skill levels to learn to code: from Web Development & Design, C#/.NET, SQL, iOS, to Java and UX.

Sisters Code: Based in Detroit, Michigan, Sisters Code’s goal is to educate, empower, and entice women ages 25 – 85 to explore the world of coding and technology. Their weekend-long classes teach women to code interactive websites using JavaScript, HTML and CSS for re-careering into tech.

TechTonica: Free tech training, living and childcare stipends, and job placement for local women & non-binary adults with low incomes in the San Francisco Bay area

Hack the Hood: Web dev workshops and bootcamps for low-income young people of color in the Bay Area and throughout Northern California from Modesto to Gilroy to San Francisco and beyond.

Techfest Club: Event series for women in tech in New York City

Outside the USA

Geekettes: While they have many hubs, currently the Berlin & Minneapolis are hosting tech talks, workshops and hackathons to teach and refine skills and bring women together to create unique, original products.

She Codes: Provides educational events for female software developers in the hi-tech industry throughout Israel.

CodeBar: Free workshops in London bridging the diversity gap.

BlackGirl.Tech:  Providing black women the opportunity to get into coding in London/Bristol

Online Resources:

Programming Language Resources

  • RailsBridge: Free workshops from beginner to intermediate in Rails and Ruby, focus on increasing diversity and inclusion for all genders, races, experiences, etc.
  • LinuxChix: Linux community providing technical and social support for women Linux users.
  • PyLadies: Mentorship focusing on helping more women become active participants and leaders in the Python open-source community.
  • Django Girls: Free Python and Django workshops and open sourced online tutorials.

Soon to be Added:

Additional Resources

  • Under-represented conferences: Twitter list of programming conferences for or about people of color, women, LGBTQI, etc in tech from CallBackWomen
  • Tech Women Programs List: Twitter list of organizations, publications, events and other programs that work to advance technical women via Anita Borg
  • Speaking Advice: Twitter list of resources encouraging people from underrepresented groups to speak at conferences from CallBackWomen
  • Karen Church’s Medium Post: List of 80 Women in STEM SF Bay area resources from 2015.
  • Kira Newman’s list: 30+ Organizations for Women in Technology from 2012
  • Being inclusive in CS: Cynthis Lee’s guide to supporting inclusion in computer science classrooms

Diversity v. Inclusivity

Interviewing diverse candidates will not create a diverse environment. While the above organizations may have filled that diversity pipeline, that pipeline is full of leaks. Diversity recruiting is really only lip service. Work, school, community and conference environments need to be inclusive. Inclusivity in the sealant that prevents many pipeline leaks. Creating an inclusive work environment is necessary, but was not the focus of this post.

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Estelle Weyl

My name is Estelle Weyl. I an open web evangelist and community engineer. I'm a consulting web developer, writing technical books with O'Reilly, running frontend workshops, and speaking about web development, performance, and other fun stuff all over the world. If you have any recommendations on topics for me to hit, please let me know via @estellevw.

One thought on “Feeding the Diversity Pipeline”

  1. Hi Estelle, thanks for this list—I was especially happy to see Techtonica on here! I wanted to ask if you’d like to come speak to our students who are now working on front-end projects. They’re all local women and non-binary adults with low incomes and we meet in San Francisco.

    Also, I’d love to have you add PyLadies to the list. :)

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