(Photo via Twitter)
Tech has a woman problem. This we know. Women are underrepresented in the tech workforce, in company leadership and within the realm of VC funding. Each of these is a slightly different issue with slightly different driving forces and, probably, slightly different solutions.
But here’s one idea for a solution to the pipeline problem — a database of talented women in tech, available to companies that are willing and committed to supporting female employees through remote work, or other flexibility.
This solution is a company called PowerToFly.
Founded in August 2014, PowerToFly has since grown to a network of around 81,000 women in 143 countries. It also employs its own large, remote team — Technical.ly chatted with cofounder Katharine Zaleski who is based in Brooklyn.
The company’s mission, Zaleski said, is “finding women work at companies that are invested in closing the gender gap.” PowerToFly is working with a variety of D.C. companies including the Washington Post, Politico and Gannett, helping to place women on their tech teams. Zaleski said companies like these, and the roughly 1,400 other companies that work with PowerToFly, are attracted by the growing talent pool the site boasts and the fact that they can target a job to a very specific type of employee — namely, a woman.
Companies participate in PowerToFly through a subscription model that gets them access to the database of vetted talent as well as job postings in women-only groups and listservs. As Zaleski told Wired in an interview in 2015, PowerToFly is a way for companies to “make an immediate dent” in workforce gender imbalance. Educating the next generation of girls in STEM is important, but it’ll take a while. There’s another way for companies to start investing in women now, she suggests.
But is this something companies are truly committed to investing in? While the numbers remind us that there’s work to be done, the ever-growing conversation about diversity in tech, the trendiness of remote work and the growth of PowerToFly right here in D.C. seem to indicate a trend toward yes.
Zaleski said she’s passionate about the work she does as president because PowerToFly helps companies bring in the kind of diversity that drives innovation. “We’re essentially changing not only women’s lives, but companies as well,” she said.