As the City of Steel reinvents itself
as a City of Technology,
women remain wildly unrepresented.
Of the top 53 cities for women in tech, Pittsburgh ranks 46th.
The percentage change for the amount of women holding tech jobs over the last 4 years is only 18%.
The gender pay gap for these jobs is 82%.
And even though statistics show that companies championing gender diversity are 15% more likely to see above average financial return:
Only 25% of tech jobs in Pittsburgh are filled by women.
3 years ago, I found myself unemployed, broke and totally lost trying to navigate the job market.
I had just moved back to Pittsburgh with my Master’s in Branding and the market for these types of positions was so saturated I spent day after day reading rejection emails.
I decided I needed to spice up my resume by learning some HTML and CSS, but I was scared and intimidated…
In undergrad I attempted to minor in computer science as the only female in my CS101 class on C++ and it appeared that I was also the only one without any hint of software experience, too.
I barely passed and my professor said something to me in his office I’ll never forget: “I just don’t think this kind of stuff is for people like you.”
Was his intention to be condescending? I doubt it. But I believed him and from that point on created the belief that “I’m not smart enough to understand technology, let alone coding.”
Fast forward a few years later and there I am wanting to learn something as basic as HTML and the memory is still there reminding me why I’m not good enough.
Something inside me urged me to search the hashtag #womenintech on Instagram.
When I did, my whole story about me not being smart enough faded away as I soaked up all the stories of other women with similar backgrounds talk about how they transitioned into technology.
From there I found an online bootcamp catered specifically towards women and spent all the money in my account to enroll and got my first full time job as a UI developer.
The imposter syndrome wasn’t the only roadblock though.
During my learning period I networked like crazy attending every meetup, hackathon, and conference I could find within my budget in the Pittsburgh area.
At the events where I was the minority I was stalked, sexually harassed, and found that most of the connections I made were not actually interested in anything about me professionally but instead ended up emailing me about going to dinner and a movie.
I felt alone. Not only did I feel that all my hard work to develop myself as a professional in technology was invalidated, the voice from undergrad came back while I thought speaking up would probably cause me to be ostracized.
All these random experiences became a good example of the mosquito bite metaphor and I stopped going to most of the events and diluted who I was in these spaces.
One day I had enough dwelling on the memories so I decided to talk about my experiences online with the #womenintech hashtag. I was afraid to open up about it and became the target of even more harassment by people who justified these experiences by blaming me instead.
But the positive always outweighs the negative and so many women came forward to share their stories with me and let me know I wasn’t alone in even the slightest.
Since then I have amassed a following of over 16,000 people across my social platforms and found a rich community full of support reciprocated by both women and men.
I would not be who I am or where I am professionally without that community.
In 2018 I decided to create a platform that could duplicate the inspiration I found in the #womenintech hashtag that changed the trajectory of my life, but in a more domestic fashion for the Pittsburgh area called WIT PGH. The response was amazing and humbling.
But that’s not enough…
The statistics stated above are a HUGE problem and I’m committed to adjusting it so that Pittsburgh becomes one of the TOP cities for women in tech.
But what REALLY needs to change?
Targeting and reaching women is where I see SO many companies getting stuck.
They know they need a more diverse team. They know they need employees that reflect their customer base. They know investing in diverse teams leads to higher financial performance and increased innovation.
But for some reason?
They keep acquiring the same pool of candidates for interviews. They keep seeing increasing employee turnover. Running into every problem in the book but never taking any action to try something different. Doing more work, trying the same thing, and not seeing any different results.
Why is this?
Why do we seem to be stuck in the same conversation that there aren’t enough women in tech?
Why do we continue talking about the problem instead of the solution?
Aren’t you tired of seeing these numbers and hearing these same facts at every single panel, on every single blog post, at every diversity meeting?
In 2019 I have expanded my mission to not just a digital platform highlighting the amazing women in Pittsburgh’s tech scene, but to also get the job opportunities directly in front of them, hosting workshops, helping them build themselves professionally, and more.
I’m continuously iterating on WIT PGH in order to TRANSFORM the way we recruit, attract and retain women in technology in our city.
Since starting my own journey I have invested countless hours and savings into my own experience to better understand how I need to navigate the industry that is mutually beneficial for myself and my employer.
I have studied how gendered wording can attract or repel candidates, the importance of diversity in hiring panels as well as treatment of current employees for retention.
A reminder that this is NOT to say hire more women because they are women.
It is to make sure you are actually being seen by and connecting with women in Pittsburgh, and hiring them because they are skilled at what they do.
- Direct advertising opportunities to the women in tech community of Pittsburgh.
- Targeted job opportunities directly to our niche market of women in STEM seeking full-time, part-time, contract, or internship experience
- Increased brand awareness and loyalty as a company who is committed to championing diversity in the workplace
- Access to our rapidly growing social media and blog platform highlighting your company’s investment in women in tech activities and development
- Content created specifically for you by our founder who has professional experience as a social media manager and content curator for over 5 years, holds a master’s degree in brand management, and has amassed a social following in the STEM field of over 16,000 across her multiple platforms
- To not only decrease the gender gap in tech, but also to supply experienced individuals for positions that will remain in demand and unfilled in the years going forward.
- The ability to continue creating digital content and in real life experiences that contribute to the increased quality of professional skills among a large marginalized community in Pittsburgh’s tech scene.
- To increase Pittsburgh ranking of 46th out of the 53 top cities for women in tech.