Quadruple Whammy: 4 Projects For Women Leaders To Applaud, Join

Y-Vonne Hutchinson, cofounder of Ready Set,is one of the creators of Project Include, aimed at diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. The paucity of women leaders in the tech industry is not news, but concrete efforts to make the male-dominated industry more diverse and inclusive is news, thanks to the introductory launch last week of Project Include.Conceived by a group of women leaders in tech, including Erica Joy Baker, bethanye McKinney Blount, Tracy Chou, Laura I. GómezY-Vonne Hutchinson, Freada Kapor Klein, Ellen Pao, and Susan Wu, the initiative will target early and mid-stage tech start-ups to celebrate and practice inclusion, comprehensives and accountability in their diversity efforts. The mission is to ultimately have not just more women leaders in tech, but a more diverse and inclusive culture in the tech industry.The group founders writes in Medium: “In the future, we’d like to look back at this period as a turning point. Out of this groundswell of attention and activity, how do we ensure that initiatives have lasting positive and meaningful impact? Which will prevail against founder ambivalence, entropy, and media capriciousness? What will drive the greatest possible improvements over time? How do we inspire more ambitious efforts, more substantial programs, and more unity across efforts? What types of practical research about mitigating bias in every aspect of tech hiring and employment would help? How do we work together to cause meaningful transformation — in behavior, in expectations, in standards — across the tech industry?”According to the New York Times, the  Project has 18 companies already signed on. “As part of Project Include, the group plans to extract commitments from tech companies to track the diversity of their work forces over time and eventually share that data with other start-ups. The effort will focus on start-ups that employ 25 to 1,000 workers, in the hope of spurring the companies to think about equality sooner rather than later. The project will also ask for participation from venture capital firms that advise and mentor the start-ups.”[bctt tweet=“Unfortunately, we have seen tech culture become even more exclusive and less diverse over the last five years.”]The problem, the founders write in Medium, is that change is difficult and course change is uncomfortable. “Though startups are making an effort to implement diversity improvement strategies, the reality is that most are taking limited, potentially harmful actions, including one-off training, blaming the pipeline, using language like “lowering the bar” and describing the current state of the tech industry as a “meritocracy.” Unfortunately, we have seen tech culture become even more exclusive and less diverse over the last five years.”Another movement making creative efforts to tell positive stories and serve as a resource for  young women who are innovators, is #ActuallySheCan that defines its mission as one “for women who are strong, smart and driven. A movement for those who aren’t afraid to toss out what they don’t want to make room for what they do. Because we believe focusing on the positive things in your life means less drama, more karma.”In partnership with Tribeca Digital Studios, #ActuallySheCan offers video narratives of young women leaders including a designer, chef, journalist and Iditarod musher. The goal of the project is for young women to get inspired, empowered and informed.And halfway across the world in Saudi Arabia, a first ever Women’s Business Park was announced with the “goal of to create 21,000 jobs by 2025 and give women a critical role to play in a way that serves the objectives of the nation and to build a knowledge economy with societal and international partnerships,” said Huda Al-Ameel, Rector of Princess Nourah University.The lack of women business leaders in Saudi Arabia is an historic realty. According to Rector, “The aim is also to provide a start-up ecosystem to upcoming entrepreneurial ventures. In a country where women represent about 60 percent of all university graduates, but less than 15 percent of the country’s workforce, the Women’s Business Park is poised to be a milestone initiative.“Each one of these initiatives align with Take The Lead’s 4 Keys to Parity for Women: prepare, develop, inspire and propel.Back in this country, even more jobs are available in this country in the oil and gas industry, according to Chron, that quotes oilonline.com as projecting an influx of 1.3 million jobs in the industry within the next 20-15 years, with more than 185,000 of those jobs filled by women.Included in that number is that “job projection for women in engineering, management and other professional roles will grow through 2030 by 70,000 positions.”Valerie Sweeten writes: “Beth Cassidy, Brazosport College director of workforce development and school partnerships, said a substantial amount of work options are available for women throughout these industries.”[bctt tweet=“Our goal is to foster and support innovation and creativity in females to engage in STEM career paths in the energy industry.”]Spearheading placement of women in many of these positions is the Women’s Energy Network, “a nonprofit organization that develops programs for networking and fostering career and leadership development for women in energy industries.”According to Sweeten, “Partnered with the American Petroleum Institute, WEN has seen an increase in college students majoring in engineering, accounting, chemistry and technology-related fields. According to WEN, economic projections indicate 2.4 million STEM jobs could be unfilled by 2018.”“Our goal is to foster and support innovation and creativity in females to engage in STEM career paths in the energy industry,” said Tomira Eason, president of the WEN Houston chapter. “WEN hopes to continue to inspire the next generation of women energy leaders.”