What’s Next for Tech: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

What’s Next for Tech:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

A conversation with Dr. Tarika Barrett,

Chief Executive Officer of Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code is one of the largest girls’ international non-profit organizations on the planet. Their work uplifts girls, especially of color, to step into roles in the tech industry. This movement educates, inspires, and equips young women with computing skills to take on the 21st-century jobs and opportunities with a deep commitment to close the gender gap in entry-level tech jobs by 2030.

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My mother instilled in me the power of mentorship and the importance of fighting for equity and making change. This foundation has shaped the journey I took into the education space.”

Addressing the gender gap in tech, we can’t afford not too

Addressing the gender gap in tech, we can’t afford not too

By failing to address the growing gender gap in tech, we’re failing to prepare girls for the jobs of the future. In doing so, we deny them the quality of life and upward mobility a career in tech can provide. This doesn’t sit well with us because data show careers in tech are among the fastest-growing in our economy, with an estimated half-million new tech jobs emerging by 2029, and the median wage in tech is double that of the national median wage. Our young women, especially women of color, stand to gain so much by pursuing a career in tech, and we are a vehicle that can help get them there.

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We're predicting a half-million new tech jobs will emerge by 2029. And let's be clear, these are jobs that pay and are at play.”

Equity in credentialing, hiring, and promotion practices

Equity in credentialing, hiring, and promotion practices

We are asking our corporate partners to dive inward to address things like credentialing, hiring, promotion practices, and what they are doing to promote gender and racial diversity in tech. These are not easy questions, but until we’re able to interrogate these long-held practices that narrowly assess academic credentials, we won’t bend the needle of equity.

Half of the women we work with are from historically underrepresented groups, students who are Black, Latina, and low income. These girls are excited and ready to learn but often juggle caregiving responsibilities while taking care of siblings and working a full-time job. Their academic profiles look different than what many tech companies traditionally value and then hire for, but let’s be honest, it’s self-defeating. Tech jobs are among the fastest-growing in our economy, growing by 11%, half-million new jobs. So, when you think about it, it would be advantageous for tech companies to think about the bravery and resilience these young women manifest because that’s what they want to bring to their tech companies. With so many jobs on the horizon, we can’t afford to leave a single ounce of tech talent on the table. It’s not because these girls don’t have the talent, it’s because they have been forced out by a dated, narrow academic credentialing pipeline of recruitment. Let’s build a new pipeline of recruitment to honor, hire and promote resilient women all over the tech industry.

An after-school tech community for 3rd-12th graders

An after-school tech community for 3rd-12th graders

Girls Who Code clubs are magical places for students starting as early as third grade and go all the way to 12th grade.

Here’s what it’s like to be in the room where it happens: Picture 25 girls gathered around computers collaborating, helping each other learn how to code, while facilitators learn alongside the girls, a breakthrough change we made to remove the barrier of leading a club. Our girls come together weekly, bi-weekly, and engage with content like Python, CSS, JavaScript, and HTML. We do spotlights with women in tech to dismantle the cultural stereotype of tech being a boys only club. We need our girls to see women in real life tech positions because at Girls Who Code we believe, “You can’t be what you cannot see.”

Be an Advocate for Change

  1. Push back when you hear stereotypes about who belongs in tech
  2. Start or recruit someone to start a Girls Who Code club in your community
  3. Hire/provide an internship to one of our 90,000+ college/workforce age women
Growing and enhancing the customer experience virtually

Growing and enhancing the customer experience virtually

Girls Who Code Work Prep is the virtual 2-week program we developed as we thought about the challenges young women face, especially those from marginalized groups. During this pandemic, we said, what can we do? How do we give these young women access to tech companies? How do we get them into this pathway? And so, Work Prep was born. We've completed two pilots with two of our corporate sponsors. Work Prep is an amazingly diverse group of 50+ women for each session, getting to meet women in tech and pull back the curtains of what it is really like. This type of mentorship experience was transformative for these young women and gave them another touchpoint to say, “Yes, I can see myself in a tech role.” We want to continue to bring that kind of mentorship programming to the market as we build a better pipeline for women in the tech industry.

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I am a Black woman who's a CEO, at a time where centuries of historical discrimination and racism have kept women of color, and Black women in particular, fighting for some small slice of the leadership pie. I'm so proud of Girls Who Code and our partners who are turning all that outdated thinking on its head.

And so now here I am, ready to pay it forward and uplift other girls and women, especially Black and Brown girls and women of color so that they can step into their agency and leadership.”

—Dr. Tarika Barrett

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About our guests

Dr. Tarika Barrett, CEO, Girls Who Code

Dr. Tarika Barrett
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Girls Who Code

Dr. Tarika Barrett is the CEO of Girls Who Code, an international non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology that has served over 450,000 students to date. Tarika started her career as an educator and has spent two decades building educational pathways for young people at organizations like iMentor, the New York City Department of Education, New Visions for Public Schools, and New York University’s Center for Research on Teaching and Learning. A graduate of Brooklyn College, Tarika has an M.A. in Deaf Education from Columbia Teachers College and a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning from New York University. Tarika serves on the board of McGraw Hill and is the recipient of the New York University’s Steinhardt School Dorothy Height Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

Miriam McLemore
Enterprise Strategist, Amazon Web Services

Before joining Amazon, Miriam was the Chief Information Officer, Corporate and Consumer Technologies and a leader in the Global Information Technology Division of The Coca-Cola Company. In this role, she provided global leadership across the enterprise on all technology matters in support of global marketing, consumer/commercial leadership, product R&D, human resources, legal, sustainability, public affairs; and strategic security.

Read more from Miriam 

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