3 women transforming tech in New York

NEW YORK—How are women doing in tech? Last February 25, Tech in Motion hosted a special talk featuring women transforming technology in New York at the SVA Theatre in Chelsea.

http://www.meetup.com/techinmotionnyc/events/219048461/

“When women don’t need to talk about being women in tech is the time when we can say, women have arrived in tech,” said Rebecca Garcia, one of the panelists that included Cassidy Williams and Maitreyi Krishnaswamy.

Last February 25, Tech in Motion hosted a special talk featuring women transforming technology in New York at the SVA Theatre in Chelsea.

Garcia is the co-founder of CoderDojo NYC, a non-profit teaching youth to code; Krishnaswamy is principal manager of Verizon’s video services and Williams isa software engineer and developer evangelist at Venmo.

The event was packed with women mostly who host Claire LaCanne addressed as she quoted from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: “By 2020, there will be 1.4 million new computer science jobs, but only 400,000 computer science students.”

It was a way to encourage women to pursue their dreams, especially with the panelists talking about their own experiences as well as the support and mentorship they can extend to women looking forward to a tech career.

It helped the audience relate to the panelists who are not just women but minorities as well. Garcia is half-Hispanic and Asian; Krishnaswamy is Indian and Williams also shares Hispanic roots with Garcia.

Being women and a minority have not exactly been a deterrent to these tech speakers.

Beyond gender and ethnic issues, Krishnaswamy also pointed out the importance of changing perspective at the foundational level, in women’s formative years. “Women don't get the right messages from the media.” 

Taking it from there, Garcia talks about a high proportion of men in tech somehow ‘repels” women from learning computer science.

Garcia talked about how in her early years, it seemed uncool whereas now it’s more accepted for women to be in tech.  

Still, Krishnaswamy hopes entertainment and media show women in tech in realistic ways and not in “over-the-top sexy” ways, while men in tech are shown how they really look like in tech. “We’re not shown as fully faceted people,” Garcia said.

The three women suggest going to talks like the meetups and networking events in the city to inspire them to pursue a career in tech and how to enact change for women in general.  For perceptions to change, they have to be out there, challenging stereotypes.

“For women to have it all, men also need to do it all,” Garcia said.

For women already in tech seeking more opportunities, Garcia suggested doing volunteer work, taking on even small, contractual jobs. “I didn't become a developer overnight. I accepted contractual work. (It’s a way to) try out (tech) without being pressured working in a company.” 

Williams had a different experience. She worked with big companies right away. She faced bullying not face to face but online. But she overcame it based on how determined she became as a developer.

“I jumped out of my comfort zone,” Williams said.  

The meetup was sponsored by Verizon Fios.