by Tracy Sternberg, NC TECH — September 26, 2020
In wake of RBG’s passing, NC TECH’s Women in Tech Summit brings home call for action
Editor’s note: Tracy Sternberg is the Director of Programs + Sponsorship at the North Carolina Technology Association (NC TECH). The Summit was recorded and is available for download. More information about NC TECH is available at www.nctech.org.
RALEIGH — Last week, we all learned of the news of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg – a true leader, patriot and pioneer. Her death has given us the opportunity to reflect, especially as we at NC TECH launched our inaugural Summit for Women in Tech over the past couple of days.
While opportunities for women have certainly improved over the past few decades, there is still a lag in job opportunities, promotion and pay – especially in the tech sector. North Carolina ranks 1st among the states in the percentage of women in IT positions, but the total percentage, 35.5%, is not where it should be. There is much work to be done to fill our tech jobs pipeline with more women, especially women of color.
The Summit for Women in Tech kicked off with former North Carolina AT&T State Executive, now CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, Cynt Marshall who shared her insights and experiences around diversity and inclusion, especially in terms of women. She shared some personal stories about her career journey including pieces of advices from several of the mentors who helped her along her career journey. Her HASU approach – Hook a Sister Up – is one she often shares where she believes in bringing women along with her as she had made her way up the corporate ladder. This, along with several other elements, are an important part of her personal and professional diversity, equity and inclusion strategy.
In a panel discussion that featured speakers from Infinia ML, Inmar Intelligence, SAS and VACO, the conversation turned to the topic of Invisible Women – Exposing Data Bias in a World of Men. During this discussion, these data and analytics leaders talked about unconscious bias, how gender bias has impacted product design and implementation for decades, and ideas and suggestions for shifting these biases for real change. They also focused on how to engage more girls and young women in the artificial intelligence (AI), data and analytics pipeline by sharing what career opportunities look like, showing them how these areas impact our community and the world, and the good that comes from this work as well as how dynamic and fun this career track is.