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The Pandemic Has Hurt Women in Tech – We Can Make Tech More Accessible

We’ve known for a while that the pandemic has most hurt the people who were already the most vulnerable.  A new editorial in Forbes takes it a step further, saying that the tech industry is now in a make-or-break moment for hiring women.

Recent reports have said that women in tech have been dramatically more impacted by the pandemic than their male counterparts.  

  • Women in tech are nearly twice as likely as men to have lost their jobs or been furloughed due to the pandemic,
  • 47 percent of the women in tech surveyed believe that the effects of COVID-19 have delayed their career progression due to family or home pressures, and
  • 57% of women in tech said they felt burned out at work due to the pandemic, as opposed to only 36% of men.  

It’s a huge problem for the tech industry if half the population doesn’t feel welcome in it. There are already far more jobs to fill than there are qualified applicants, and the industry’s growth depends on getting and retaining high quality employees. It’s also a huge problem for California’s economy: when significant populations are cut out from big industries, economic growth slows and prosperity declines.  Helping people traditionally kept out access good jobs improves economic prosperity for everyone.

The Forbes article lists five fixes to help women feel welcome in the tech industry, and these are vitally important.  These solutions, however, focus on the population of women who already have access to the industry: women with computer science degrees and experience.  

At Calbright, we believe the pipeline can be grown to include even more people—women in particular—who want to transition their careers into technology.  For a substantial number of people, getting the knowledge and credentials to even consider a career in technology is already a barrier to access.

Opening tech up to more people means making knowledge and credentials more accessible.  The Calbright model makes community college free for Californians. It makes classes online and flexibly paced so that students can work their education around their schedules, and instead of a degree is a fast-track to industry valued credentials, the kind that hiring managers in technology are looking for.

Students who have to care for families have told us that this flexible approach to classes means they have access to an education that can fit in their lives. By offering them robust career support, helping them develop their resumes and connecting them to the industries they want to join, Calbright can help more people—and more kinds of people—get jobs in technology.

That’s good for everyone: employees, companies, and California, all together.

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