It’s no secret that women are vastly underrepresented in the tech sector. While women make up 57% of the professional workforce, they hold only 26% of professional computing jobs. That number is significantly lower for women of color: Black women make up 3% of the computing workforce, and Latina women only 1%.
Underrepresentation in tech is a complex, systemic problem, and no one company or organization can solve these issues alone. Enter: the Reboot Representation Tech Coalition.
Starting in April 2022, Cloudera joined 20 other organizations to help close the gender gap in the tech sector as a member of the Reboot Representation Tech Coalition. Together, Cloudera and organizations like Amazon, Intel, and Microsoft have pledged more than $26 million to support Black, Latina, and Native American (BLNA) women in computing.
The coalition was founded in 2018 following a first-of-its-kind report to collect data directly from tech companies to understand how they approach philanthropic and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives focused on closing the gender gap in tech.
“The fourth industrial revolution will be powered by people, and technology companies are at the forefront of ensuring there are opportunities and access for all.” said Amy Nelson, Cloudera’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “Cloudera is proud to be a part of a group of committed, innovative companies who are working collectively to invest in change at a time when working together is the best avenue we have to impactful and lasting change.”
Reboot Representation was born from the notion that increasing the success of BLNA women in tech lies in targeted philanthropic investments in often overlooked programs and institutions that make education and careers in computing more equitable for women of color. Specifically, higher education and broader systemic change.
“In 2018, the Rebooting Representation report exposed the diminutive investments supporting Black, Latina, and Native American women and girls interested in tech. The severity of the issue made it clear that only a collective effort could create long-term change,” said Dwana Franklin-Davis, CEO of Reboot Representation. “Philanthropic dollars are powerful, and they can be even more powerful when pooled and spent intentionally, which is why the Reboot Representation Tech Coalition exists.”
The coalition’s immediate goal is to double the number of Black, Latina, and Native American women receiving computing degrees by 2025. Without this targeted investment, the number of BLNA women receiving these degrees wouldn’t double until 2052. In 2018, only 19% of computing degree recipients were women.
Degrees and education are important, but they’re just the beginning. The coalition’s long-term goal is to grow and facilitate cultures that lead to continued success for BLNA women and for the tech industry as a whole.
“Technology spaces have for decades been ones where women, especially Black, Latina, and Native American women, have felt—or been—unwelcome,” said Franklin-Davis. “Reboot Representation works across sectors to collaborate with leaders and changemakers in tech, higher education, and nonprofits to facilitate and grow a culture of inclusion, from classroom to internship to career.”
Not only do these efforts directly benefit women of color by setting them up for jobs and opportunities, but it’s also good business. According to the 2018 Rebooting Representation report, “Teams with greater gender diversity have certain dynamics that allow for more radical innovation, which is especially critical for tech companies.”
Additionally, companies with better diversity are more creative, innovative, and more profitable, according to Reboot Representation.
“Technology empowers, innovates, and adapts,” remarked Amy. “Moreover, technology is developed and deployed best when informed and reflective of our society. Industry leaders like Cloudera are demonstrating that companies can operate under these values by collaborating to invest in access and equality.”