Diversity Value in Tech Goes Beyond Numbers

Women in Open Source Logo A special session of the recent All Things Open conference presented a screening of the documentary, CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap. Knowing that Red Hat has a strong interest in diversity recruiting, I decided to attend. It was a good decision; I was in awe after only minutes into the documentary.

For example, did you know that there are three times as many software engineers needed than the number of software engineers actually being produced? Part of the reason for this huge need comes from the lack of women in the IT field. As tech companies began to disclose the lack of diversity in their organizations, the results were not pretty.

The movie also revealed that different societal influences don’t teach women that computer engineering is an obtainable career option. However, many organizations like shescoding.org are aiming to change that stigma. While some progress has been made for women in the tech industry, the movie demonstrated that there is still a lot of progress to be made.

One frightening example came from a group of engineers working on automobile safety mechanisms. The team of engineers working on these mechanisms were all adult men who used their own physical statures as the model human for the car’s safety standards. As we all know, adult men are not the only individuals who find themselves car accidents. The design flaw caused many injuries in women and children who did not fit in that model–some of the injuries being fatal. Employee diversity is not just something companies want, it is something that society needs.

Without diversity, technological innovations won’t always positively impact all groups of people. More inclusion can help us begin to close the gap between the number of tech jobs available and the number of people who can fill those positions. Together, we can all work to help make the technology industry more diverse.

One way you can help recognize women in the technology industry is through Red Hat’s Women in Open Source Award. Nominations begin November 30, 2015.

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About Abby Cameron

Abby works as Events Support for the Global Events and Marketing team at Red Hat. As a recent graduate from NC State, you can always find her cheering on the Wolfpack. Follow her on Twitter at @abbscam.