I was delighted to recently attend a fundraising event, and to personally deliver a $5,000 contribution from our company to a very worthwhile cause.
Advancing Women in Technology (AWT) is an organization that recognizes preeminent women as well as rising female stars in technology. The organization’s premier annual event, an October wine tasting, was an opportunity for the community to foster awareness of the tech industry’s gender gap, and to raise money to address this current under-representation of women in our industry.
AWT’s mission statement reads: “Advancing Women in Technology (AWT) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of women in technology through the endowment of educational scholarships and the creation of opportunities to enhance personal and professional growth, working closely with the business community to facilitate diversity and proficiency.”
Advancing Women in Technology has been hosting its October wine tasting fundraiser for 13 consecutive years. Its ongoing efforts have put it at the forefront of promoting equality for women in tech through scholarships and recognition of their achievements.
Understanding innovation and the gender gap
To understand the importance of what Advancing Women in Technology is doing, it’s useful to look back. Historically, there hasn’t been much public recognition of what women have done to advance technology. Pioneers such as Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper are not well known.
More significantly, consider that 70 percent of Apple’s workforce, and 69 percent of Facebook’s, is male. Less than one-half of one percent of female college freshmen has plans to major in computer science, marking a long, steady decline in the number of women obtaining CS degrees. In 1985, women received 37 percent of undergraduate degrees in the field, but the number was halved by 2010, according to The New York Times. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has attributed these trendsin part to ongoing stereotypes about the roles and relative interest levels of women in technology in general.
Advancing Women in Technology and the growing momentum for gender equality in technology The event raised greater awareness of the need to close the gender gap in technology and to provide support to women in tech, so that they get the opportunities, resources and recognition that they deserve.
- More than 200 people attended the event
- $35,000 in scholarships was awarded to seven recipients
- Numerous “Rising Women” were recognized
- The event featured executives from organizations such as Toyota Financial, Edwards Lifesciences, AMN Healthcare, and PAAMCO
- Digital Realty, Pacific Life, and Toyota were the main sponsors of the event
As a sponsor of this fundraiser, Digital Realty is proud to support greater opportunities for women in technology. I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to support this cause.
Scott Huguenin, Solutions Director, Southwest Region