Established by the US Congress more than 30 years ago, National Women’s History Month is celebrated in March. This year’s theme, “Nevertheless, She Persisted,” honors women who have fought discrimination and advocated for equality in civil rights, reproductive rights, labor rights and wherever women’s contributions have been hindered or gone unrecognized.
Take the tech industry: Despite efforts to improve access to training and employment in technology and engineering, women leave the field at a rate 45% higher than men. How to help early career women scientists and technologists not only persist but thrive in the profession?
Women in Tech Initiative (WITI@UC), co-sponsored by CITRIS and the Banatao Institute and the UC Berkeley College of Engineering, is adopting a three-fold strategy:
- Creating a program of outreach and professional development for graduate students and young alumnae to provide tools for negotiating the choppy waters of the tech industry
- Convening executive women leaders to share experiences and encourage adoption of diversity metrics within their companies
- Highlighting success stories and celebrating achievements of women in tech through public events and the annual Athena Awards
WITI@UC welcomes support of these emerging programs and suggestions for meaningful steps that can be taken to improve the field for women in technology, not just in March but year-round.
In 2017, CITRIS & the Banatao Institute and UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering came together to launch the Women in Technology Initiative at the University of California, building on the prior efforts on behalf of women technologists of Professor Tsu-Jae King Liu and Dr. Camille Crittenden, both of UC Berkeley. WITI@UC is committed to addressing the disproportionate participation of women in engineering and computer science fields by serving as a trusted center and resource that integrates research with action anchored at the University of California. Interdisciplinary research findings will guide our work in:
- Promoting and sustaining the career growth of women technologists: reducing attrition, supporting career growth in line jobs, increasing technology leadership roles for women in industry and academia
- Increasing access to a range of technology workplace settings: established tech companies as well as startups
- Facilitating and documenting improvements within companies: metrics & measurement, reporting organizational progress
- Coordinating programs (collaboration among the top educational institutions that supply talent to the tech industry in Silicon Valley: the University of California campuses, Stanford University, San Jose State University).
To learn more about the WITI@UC, visit http://witi.berkeley.edu/