- Pivotal Ventures, along Break Through Tech, SecondMuse, and "several leading social organizations," announced Jan. 28 a new city-based initiative to bring more women into tech. Melinda Gates' company Pivotal Ventures invested $50 million in Gender Equality in Tech Cities to engage women as college students, employees and founders and investors in city-based tech hubs nationwide.
- The initiative's goal is to speed up gender equality in the tech sphere by maximizing "the impact of local women-in-tech efforts, crowd in other funders, and foster local coordination" involving academia, non-profits, government, venture capital and business sectors in selected cities across the country, according to the press release.
- The initiative will begin in Chicago before starting work in two other cities in the next five years.
Initiatives that tackle barriers to workplace equity need to focus on early intervention, according to a report by LeanIn.org and McKinsey. The report found that women's obstacles in the workplace begin long before they're anywhere near the glass ceiling. Barriers start as women first step into leadership positions.
For tech fields specifically, the need for intervention to ensure gender equality may come at an even earlier stage. Young students need to be introduced to role models in tech, people who they can aspire to be, one source told HR Dive sister publication CIO Dive in an interview.
Training and upskilling will be necessary in attracting and retaining more women in the tech fields, as will resolutions to other problems for women and workers generally, such as access to jobs, childcare, transportation and affordable housing. These obstacles are sparking collaborations between business, government, academia and other stakeholders, much like the partnerships for which the city-based tech hubs are advocating.
Preparing the workforce for the future of work though training and upskilling is something both employers and workers agree must happen. A West Monroe Partners report found that the workers it polled recognized that the increasing digital environment will require upgrading their skills. The report also found that 70% of organizations in the poll introduced at least one type of technology that required higher skills. But overall, most employers were falling short of providing the resources needed to prepare workers for the future.