D.C. may be a good place to be a woman in tech from the perspective of women-focused interest groups and even the gender pay gap in tech jobs (perhaps — it’s complicated). But those are far from the only two metrics available.
Kate Rabinowitz of DataLensDC recently took a look at gender diversity among speakers at #dctech and D.C. data meetups, and what she found is shocking. In the 114 events held by D.C.’s biggest tech- or data-related meetup groups (over 1,000 members) in 2016, “there were no single-speaker events where a woman was the speaker.” Multi-speaker events yielded slightly better results, but, as Rabinowitz writes, “of the 168 speaking slots, only 7.7% were women.” Wow.
And this data doesn’t even take into account non-binary people, who spoke at no D.C. tech or data events in 2016 but, Rabinowitz writes, “are absolutely a part of DC’s data and tech community and deserve to be heard.”
Rabinowitz’s blog post makes clear she’s not trying to shame the D.C. meetup community at large.
“None of this is to imply that the organizers of these meetups are sexist or carry malicious intent,” she writes. “The speaker gap likely grows from ingrained networks and implicit bias. But as large, professional communities these meetups should consider it their responsibility to more accurately reflect, and champion, diversity in the industry.”
And so, in the spirit of bringing a solution as well as a problem (?), Rabinowitz has created wespeaktoo.org — a site that lists D.C. women in tech and data who are interested in speaking at events and that neetup organizers can call upon next time they’re arranging a speaker or a panel.
So here’s a challenge for 2017 — if you’re a woman in tech in D.C., add yourself to the list!
If you know women in tech in D.C. and/or meetup organizers, share the list! And if you are a meetup organizer, bookmark this page.