Closure Of Women Who Code Sparks Fears Of Stalled Progress On Diversity

The recent announcement of the closure of Women Who Code, a non-profit organization focused on fostering a community for women in the tech industry, has sparked concerns about a potential setback in the progress towards gender equality in a field still grappling with sexism. The organization, which boasted a community of 360,000 individuals across 145 countries, has elicited a wave of shock, disbelief, and sorrow from its affiliates on social media.

## Reason for Closure

According to a press release by Women Who Code, the decision to cease operations is attributed to a lack of funding. The statement emphasized the careful consideration of all options and highlighted the significant impact of dwindling financial support on the organization's ability to sustain its programs and fulfill its mission.

## History and Mission

Women Who Code, initially established as a community group in 2011 by a small team of engineers in San Francisco, aimed to provide women with a platform to connect and support each other in navigating the predominantly male-dominated tech industry. Despite its registration as a non-profit organization in California in 2013, the organization later relocated its headquarters to Atlanta, Georgia, five years after its inception.

## Gender Inequality in Tech

The closure of Women Who Code raises concerns about the persistent gender imbalance in the tech sector, where women held only 35% of tech jobs in the U.S. at the end of 2023, and the representation in senior positions remains disproportionately male. A report by the WomenTech Network revealed that despite women earning half of science and engineering degrees, they comprise less than 20% of the workforce in these fields. Additionally, the report indicated that for every 100 men in tech roles, only 52 women are promoted to managerial positions.

## Impact of Networking Organizations

The closure has prompted discussions among employment experts and advocates for gender equality in the tech industry regarding the potential loss of a valuable resource for women. Networking organizations for underrepresented groups, such as Women Who Code, play a crucial role in providing role models and sharing strategies for navigating the challenges faced by women in tech. These networks have the power to inspire and influence a significant increase in the representation of women in the industry.

## Expert Perspectives

Portia Hickey, an organizational psychologist, emphasized the importance of role models and behavioral modeling in these networks, highlighting their potential to drive meaningful progress in enhancing representation. Riaz Moola, CEO of HyperionDev, echoed the sentiment, stressing that the closure underscores the systemic nature of the challenge in making the tech industry more inclusive. He urged investors not to be deterred from supporting initiatives like Women Who Code, emphasizing that long-term diversity in the tech sector should be a fundamental goal.

The closure of Women Who Code serves as a reminder of the ongoing hurdles in achieving gender equality in the tech industry and the essential role of networking and supportive organizations in addressing these challenges.  

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