The Leaky Tech Pipeline

Last night my friend Stephanie gave a presentation at a meetup about our local Women Who Code chapter, which she’s a leader of. She pointed us to this website, The Leaky Tech Pipeline, which I’d never seen.

Why there aren’t enough women in technology fields is a complicated problem with lots of causes. What I really like about the “leaky tech pipeline” is that it makes the point that’s too often missed that it is neither a “women aren’t moving into those fields” nor a “women leave those fields” problem. Rather, it’s that the entire “pipeline” that is supposed to make and sustain women who are working in technology (to leave aside the similar but separate issue of ethnic minorities, etc) has holes, for a variety of reasons.

Too often I see debates about how homogeneous the tech workforce is fall down because some people insist it’s an issue of hiring, while others say that there’s just no pipeline delivering qualified women, African-Americans, etc. But the issue is, accurately that the pipeline has so many leaks–big and small–all along its path that we’re simply not in a place that a good solution to it has been found.

There is no single thing I want you leave you with here. There’s no action you can take immediately that’ll remediate the problem. I just think that as people in tech we must continually come back to this problem and engage with it honestly. Is it something we’re worried about? Is it something we’re personally taking steps to solve? If not, why not?


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