Diversity & Inclusion
Nonprofits / Philadelphia / Women in tech / workforce development

Latinas in Tech launches Philly chapter to uplift, empower and ‘open doors’ to fulfilling careers

The global nonprofit is focused on helping Latinas, who hold just 2% of STEM jobs in the US, become leaders in the industry.

The leaders of the Latinas in Tech Philadelphia chapter toast their official launch at City Hall on International Women's Day 2024 (Sarah Huffman / Technical.ly)

Five women dressed in pink gathered around a podium decorated with flowers at City Hall on Friday to toast the new Latinas in Tech Greater Philadelphia Chapter. 

After a year of work, the founding team officially launched the chapter on International Women’s Day with support from partners City Councilmember Rue Landau, tech equity organization 1Philadelphia and Shannon Morales, founder of diverse talent platform Tribaja

“We saw a pressing need to connect, support, and empower Latinas,” Penelope Silva, co-chair of the new chapter, told Technical.ly, “who are either shaping the tech industry or aspiring to be part of it.” 

Founded in 2014, Latinas in Tech has a mission to empower Latina women to become leaders in the tech industry by creating opportunities, sharing resources and building community. The organization has 25 chapters around the world, according to its website, and is focused on advancing representation for Latinas in all aspects of the industry, not just technologist roles. 

Landau, who is chair of City Council’s Committee on Technology and Information Services, presented the chapter founders with a citation at the launch event. 

“Groups like Latinas in Tech are so fantastic because you actually find your people,” Landau said. “You find your support group, you actually have other people where you can lean on, that you can talk to, that you can find ways in which you can get the support to advance.”  

A group of women posing for a picture with an official citation.

The leaders of the Latinas in Tech Philadelphia chapter with City Councilmember Rue Landau (center), who presented them a citation on the official day of their launch (Sarah Huffman / Technical.ly)

Representation of women in the tech workforce has been steadily growing, and women now hold 27% of STEM positions in the US, per the Census Bureau. When you consider both genders, Latine people represent about 8% of those workers. Latinas, however, hold just 2% of STEM jobs in the US, according to tech workforce development nonprofit Per Scholas.

The Philadelphia region has other tech diversity groups for women of color, such as Philly Tech Sistas, but this is thought to be the first to focus on Latinas. 

The goal of its Greater Philadelphia chapter, according to Silva, is not just to make sure Latinas are present in the industry, but to help make them thriving leaders by increasing representation and supporting career development opportunities. 

“This inclusive definition opens doors for many Latinas who may not have previously seen themselves in this field,” Silva said. “We believe that most professional skill sets are 80% transferable to tech, and we’re here to help Latinas leverage this.” 

The chapter’s programming will address professional development, recruiting and mentorship through workshops, leadership seminars and networking opportunities. It also intends to participate in local tech conferences such as Philly Tech Week, Diversitech and the Pennsylvania Latina Women conference.  

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.

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