While many organizations in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) industry are providing their female employees with female-centric professional development training and mentoring programs, many women in tech still report feelings of isolation and exclusion in the workplace. In some cases, being in a male-dominated environment also resulted in feelings of alienation.
Fortunately, women in tech have plenty of online communities and resources to alleviate their feelings of isolation, exclusion, and alienation!
The trick is in choosing the best sites that will address your unique needs for professional development and personal connections. We suggest checking out these sites and deciding for yourself!
Professional Development Resources
Women in tech are among the most competitive professionals we’ve seen, a not-so-surprising fact considering the competitive nature of the STEAM industry. But keeping on top of job openings, business funding prospects, and other professional development opportunities can be overwhelming.
If you feel this way, then you will benefit from checking out these websites that offer unique services for women in tech.
- Diversify Tech offers its members with comprehensive listings of job openings and scholarship opportunities, even numerous speaking engagements.
- Incluzion connects women and tech professionals of color with companies that hire freelancers for a wide variety of jobs
- theBoardlist suits women with exceptional talents and/or experiences looking for senior positions, particularly jobs leading to board opportunities
- Tech Ladies, a free site, boasts of a worldwide 50,000-strong community where members can check out networking events, jobs, and other useful information
- Mother Coders provides mothers who want to get back into the workforce with skill sets suitable for the digital economy
- Fairygodboss provides women in tech with both professional advice on work-related matters, such as maternity benefits, salary comparisons, and job opportunities, as well as personal connections with others in the community
- Women Who Keynote makes it easier and faster for ambitious women to be out there, so to speak, with diverse speaking opportunities and, thus, increase the voice and visibility of women in the male-dominated tech industry
- The Anita Borg Pass It On (PIO) Awards provides women with the opportunity to inspire and support young girls to become part of the tech industry
- FemStreet’s Anna Phan gives women in tech a listing of more than 130 venture capitalists, accelerators, and investors, among other resources, to jumpstart their businesses
- DC Web Women supports women in web-related careers through panels, tech seminars, and networking events as well as career development workshops and classes.
- Black Girls Code targets pre-teen and young girls of color who want to learn tech-related skills including programming and coding.
- Girls in Tech (GIT) is a worldwide organization that promotes the education, empowerment, and engagement of women in tech.
If it’s necessary, you may want to become a member of two or more of these suggested communities. You will, after all, benefit from casting a wider net but don’t cast it too wide that you will lose focus of your unique professional goals.
Personal Development Resources
Of course, getting support as a woman in tech shouldn’t stop with professional development! You will need and want a community of like-minded women with whom you can form connections, engage in conversations, and even create lifelong friendships despite the distance. You will agree that, indeed, women supporting women means a stronger presence of women in the male-dominated STEAM industry.
In this regard, you will find numerous websites designed for conversation and community including the ones described below.
- Systers, a private email list started by Anita Borg, provides women with a safe space for conversations about careers and other matters. Due to its success, it has spawned other organizations and events like the Anita Borg Institute, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, and the aforementioned Anita Borg PIO Awards.
- Women in Tech (WIT) works toward advancing the interests of women in tech from the classroom to the ballroom through technology education, leadership development, and networking and mentoring programs. The organization has more than 1,000 members in the Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia metro region, as well as active Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
- The Anita Borg Institute works toward increasing the impact of women in technology and increasing the impact of technology on the lives of women.
- National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) seeks to increase gender diversity in the STEAM industry since gender diversity has positive effects on a better workforce, better business performance, and better innovation.
You will also find several groups on Facebook, Reddit, and LinkedIn, among other social media sites, which provide women in tech with a supportive community. Many, if not most, of these sites have moderators who strictly enforce rules and regulations regarding the exchange of information and conversations.
There are times when we aren’t into conversations, real and virtual, and that’s alright. We just need the information that the Internet can provide, and it’s available in these online resources.
- Femstreet, a newsletter specifically designed for women in tech, which provides the scoop on current stories about business leaders, investment-related events, and general advice about professional development and business.
- Battle Tactics for Your Sexist Workplace is a regular podcast hosted by Jeannie Yandel and Eula Scott Bynoe as well as a guest chosen for her expertise in dealing with issues faced by women in tech. The hosts and their guests usually ditch out practical tips and tricks on surviving and thriving in a male-dominated workplace, as well as advice on changing a toxic workplace.
Yes, these organizations and resources are useful in promoting your career and your feelings of belongingness so you should seriously be considering joining them. But it’s also important to keep in mind that these are just tools and, as such, these must be wielded with care and responsibility.
You have to be an active member by participating in the discussions, providing advice and support for your fellow women in tech, and promoting their interests, too. In doing so, you’re becoming an active participant in increasing the voice and visibility of women in STEAM.