Blogging from the WIT Luncheon
12:15 PM PST
From the WIT Luncheon in 4A, Denise McInerney is chatting with Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code. Their focus is to drive their members toward careers across all facets of technology.
There are a lot of people here (and this is only half the room):
Kimberly talks about the start of Black Girls Code in 2011, and describes the development of the mission. From their site:
By launching Black Girls Code, I hope to provide young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time when they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.
That, really, is the Black Girls Code mission: to introduce programming and technology to a new generation of coders, coders who will become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures.
They say that the pipeline into STEM and other programs is great, but retention is harder. Environments need to be more conducive to increasing leadership, and having advocates and mentors. Women feel pressure to stay at the same company for 20+ years to move ahead in any measurable way, but it shouldn't be this way.
They are now taking questions both in the room and over twitter (use the hash tag #PASSWIT).
The themes in the answers follow the same lines - companies need to open up their culture to more diversity and look past their own biases. And let's be honest here, we *all* have those biases at some level.
Several familiar faces have asked questions. One girl gave a touching story about how she's here because someone from twitter that she didn't know otherwise sponsored her to be here. That's pretty cool.
Kalen said that girls don't pursue STEM-related studies because "boys don't think the smart girls are cool."
FWIW, Grant Fritchey has taken much better notes than me (but no crappy phone pictures so far).