Walker’s Legacy, a quarterly lecture series dedicated to furthering the interests of business women of color, is teaming up with Comcast and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to sponsor a series of events highlighting women of color in tech. The lecture series will feature multicultural women who have successfully forged a career path in the historically white-male dominated tech space with a focus on supporting and providing learning opportunities for female entrepreneurs.
“Championing women of color in technology is one of the most important causes for Walker’s Legacy today,” said the founder and CEO of Walker’s Legacy, Natalie Madeira Cofield, in a press release. “Through this partnership, we look forward to highlighting women of color leading in areas of STEM while also discussing important solutions for challenges they face as entrepreneurs and business leaders,” she added.
The next lecture in the series will be held at Techtown in Detroit, Michigan, on June 6, 2019. Visit the Walker’s Legacy website to learn more about the program and locate additional events.
Disparity in Tech
The wide gender gap in the tech field is a given. As of 2018, women represent 56 percent of the nation’s professional workforce, yet only about half of those women were working in the tech space, many of them in administrative and managerial roles. For multicultural women, the numbers are even more dismal. African American, Asian and Hispanic women make up a total of only 11 percent of the computing workforce, at 3 percent, 6 percent and 2 percent respectively.
This lack of opportunity has translated into a dearth of young women preparing for STEM careers. As of last year, women made up over half of America’s bachelor’s degree recipients, but only 19 percent of those young women graduated with a computer science degree. In 1985, that number was 37 percent.
Further, even when women do enter the tech space, they are twice as likely to quit as their male counterparts. Their reasons vary, but systemic discrimination and being forced into “execution” roles versus “creative” roles appear to play a large part. Lack of opportunity for advancement also seems to play a role.
About Walker’s Legacy
Walker’s Legacy is a quarterly lecture series that seeks to advance the knowledge and opportunities of multicultural female entrepreneurs. Founded in 2009, it is named after Madam C.J. Walker (real name, Sarah Breedlove), an African-American self-made businesswoman who was considered one of the wealthiest women in America at the time of her death in 1919. Since its inception, the organization has grown into an international collective of female entrepreneurs who work to improve economic prosperity and reduce income inequality for women of color across the globe.
In 2016, Walker’s Legacy established the Walker’s Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit that supports educational programs designed to help female entrepreneurs develop the knowledge and skill sets necessary to succeed in the business world. The foundation’s flagship effort, Moms Who Enterprise, is a 12-week, financial literacy and entrepreneurship program aimed at economically disadvantaged single mothers and pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 30. The program was piloted in four locations: Baltimore, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; Newark, New Jersey; and Washington D.C. Fifty-two women have graduated from the program thus far.
To learn more about the Walker Legacy Foundation programs, click here.
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