Thursday, May 07, 2015, 5:00pm
by Semiconductor Industry Association
Earlier this year, SIA Chairman and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich made a major announcement launching Intel’s Global Diversity and Inclusion initiative. The initiative provides $300 million for support of women and under-represented minorities (URM), a strong leadership move and financial commitment to increase the number of women and URMs in tech.
While it’s not a new issue, diversity in tech has received increased attention over the last six months. It was a topic of discussion at the most recent SXSW, it’s a featured article in the May edition of Fast Company, and a quick Google search of news items on “diversity in tech” yields over 3 million results. This topic is gaining momentum as more tech companies seek to address the challenge.
Recently, STEMConnector teamed up with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to promote their newly published study “Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing.” You can watch a quick and informative video synopsis of the study here. It’s not great news for women in tech, unfortunately. In 2013, just 12 percent of engineers are women, and the number of women in computing has fallen from 35 percent in 1990 to just 26 percent, despite the exponential growth in these sectors of the economy. There are two points particularly worth noting in the study:
• First, beyond solving this challenge simply based on its own merits, there is a business case for taking on this problem in a serious way. When women and minorities are at the table, companies benefits by increasing creativity, innovation and productivity.
• Second, in order to attract and retain women, creating a welcoming workplace culture is critical, and it’s especially important to create a culture that emphasizes the social impact of work. AAUW’s study shows while this aspect is important to men, women rate this as an even higher priority.
Underscoring the importance of this topic was a discussion at the most recent SIA Board of Directors meeting in March, where diversity initiatives were examined. Many of SIA’s member companies have diversity initiatives already in place and are using new approaches like mentoring programs to ensure women and minorities are fully represented in their workforce. It’s a step in the right direction, and over time these programs will raise awareness and accelerate change for women and minorities in the technology industry. In the meantime, join us in using #addwomen on social media to highlight women and minority leaders in our industry and programs that are making a difference.