I've been in technology my entire adult life and have consistently been the only person of color in many of my meetings, projects, and business interactions so I can appreciate the importance of promoting underrepresented people especially women in the STEM fields. I recently reached for a trade magazine and was excited when I saw the cover (pictured below) and couldn't wait to see the various profiles of these amazing women who had overcome many of the well-documented barriers for women in technology. I quickly flipped to the section on these trailblazers and was immediately disappointed to see that only 2 out of 13 women were people of color and none of them were African-American. The lack of equal representation reminded me of how little progress we have made in the past few decades and how marketing can sometimes trick us into believing that we have made real changes in the world while being nothing more than a puff piece rather than a celebration of diversity in women in technology. Perhaps it was the implicit bias of the magazine editor or simply just an oversight by the content editor or author of the featured article but the end result is yet another example of how underrepresented people of color, especially women, are in the STEM fields. Why is it that it has been so difficult for this particular group to gain traction in the science, technology, and engineering? Why is it that so many talented people of color that have managed to battle their way into these fields have had such little emphasis and celebration of their achievements?
The digital divide is one possible answer to the disproportionate number of people of color in the technology sector.
What will you do to help address this issue?
What are you willing to sacrifice to make the necessary changes in our workplace?
Is it important to you that the workplace has a more diverse representation in STEM-related positions?