Pride season is fully underway as festivals across the country kick off celebrating the progression of the LGBTQ community. We wanted to do our part in assisting the LGBTQ community in gaining the skills necessary for the competitive job market. In our search, we came across Lesbians Who Tech, a community of queer women in the tech space and their efforts towards assisting people in gaining tech skills.
Currently, women make up less than 20% of people in tech-related jobs. Why is that? Lack of proper female leaders in young girls? Gender inequality? The media? A multitude of factors stack against women pursuing science, technology, engineering or mathematical (STEM) careers. The founder of Lesbians Who Tech, Leanne Pittsford, is actively involved in the tech and nonprofit sectors. In an interview with NBC News, she stated, “Lesbians are underrepresented in both communities, so it’s harder to have a voice in either space.”
Level is based in Boston, where our gay pride festival drew in an estimated 125,000 attendees for 2017. With the Boston Pride 2018 festival happening on June 9th, we wanted to help show our support for the LGBTQ community and partner with a strong influencer in the community which brought us to our relationship with the non-profit.
The Edie Windsor Scholarship
Lesbians Who Tech began the Edie Windsor Scholarship which is available to queer and gender non-conforming women for a select number of boot camps. Edie Windsor was an LGBTQ rights activist and a pioneer for women in the tech sector. Throughout her career, she helped many LGBTQ become tech literate as computers became more prevalent in the workforce.
A recent study done by Bryce Hughes, a professor at Montana State University, found that LGBTQ people are less likely to stay in STEM-related majors. “Hughes found that queer men experienced lower retention rates than heterosexual men, but queer women had higher retention rates than heterosexual women… However, all men, regardless of sexual orientation, were more likely to stay in the STEM major than women of all sexual orientations.”
The Rainbow Lining
Things are looking up, however. The Human Rights Campaign creates an annual index of companies and rates them based on LGBTQ equality. When the index began in 2002, only 13 companies scored a perfect 100 percent score. In the 2018 index, 609 companies have gained themselves a perfect score when it comes to equality.
Hopefully, people like the ones involved at Lesbians Who Tech can help encourage LGBTQ people to stay involved in STEM roles. Level is proud to be apart of that mission. Although the application deadline for the Edie Windsor Scholarship has closed, opportunities for women don’t stop at the at Level. We are also proud to be offering our Women In Tech Scholarship which people who identify as women can apply for after submitting their Level application.
From everyone here at Level, Happy Pride!
Follow Lesbians Who Tech on Twitter @lesbiantech