There is ample focus on STEM for women in technology, but underneath that is a typical view of front-end or back-end development.
While this is still very necessary, there are many other aspects of business technology that need everyone to have a seat at the table. Further, with the expansion of the Metaverse, this seat will take on new forms, but needs a diverse mindset and openness to foster inclusiveness.
00:23 — Aaron dives into the conversation with Kathryn about keeping a diverse mindset, especially in STEM fields. Her company will soon be launching a B2B brand, specifically for channel organizations and a technology channel called ‘Channel Wise.’ Recently, Kathryn’s organization was also a semi-finalist for ‘Startup of the Year’ at Summit.
03:16 — February 11th was International Day of Women and Girls in Science. So, Aaron reviewed initiatives behind this, finding that there are nearly 6,900 participants around the program. One initiative that Kathryn has worked with is Tech Girls, which specifically focuses on STEM initiatives for girls in middle school.
06:03 — Master Sergeant Briana Mullane with the Air Force Cyber Command stated that the biggest challenge working in a STEM field is the self-assessment of your own capabilities. In any professional environment, women often deal with imposter syndrome.
08:43 — The Metaverse provides opportunities for creative ideation, sharing your voice, and allows people to determine their own virtual presence to represent who they are. What kind of potential does this have to include the voices of women as another sector in the STEM field?
10:19 — There may be more limitations in a physical space. So, how can we reframe the conversation on making the virtual world not just a poor copy of the physical world?
10:53 — There needs to be diverse voices in the development of new technologies, such as AI systems. When the majority of programmers are male developers, how can technology be developed to recognize female voices as well?
11:49 — A current effort with AI is inherent bias. Because AI is going to be the back end on top of all the data, bias is shifting in different ways as it’s feeding into the development of new technologies, including the Metaverse. So, as the Metaverse continues to be developed, it’s not going to be a poor representation of the physical world, but an opportunity to reimagine it into a virtual space.
12:50 — Startups tend to see a more immediate impact of the work compared to larger enterprises, where it has to pass through several layers for approval.
16:11 — The STEM field is constantly evolving. There are many jobs now in technology that isn’t just coding nor do they require a computer science degree.
17:15 — A lot of companies, such as IBM, have instituted the idea of ‘the new collar worker.’ They have started career academies and removed requirements, like having a Bachelor’s degree, to encourage people at all levels by providing avenues for them to get involved. However, a major challenge is not just getting women and others from different demographics excited about being part of technology, but retaining them.
18:31 — In an article about the Metaverse, Aaron covered the ‘Gaming Grandma’ who is in her 90s and just got involved with gaming.
19:28 — There needs to be a level of awareness of available technical resources. This helps break down old-school perceived barriers. For instance, apprenticeship programs can be incredibly valuable.
20:24 — Kathryn encourages technology channel partners to consider regional technology academies and programs, as they are incorporated as part of the public school system. Further, some high schools provide career exploration and opportunities to gain college credits.
23:30 — It’s one thing to open the door, but it’s another thing to keep the door open. One of the biggest challenges, particularly for women in any field, is that there needs to be a welcoming culture. There are people ready to work, businesses just need to be prepared to lean in.
24:24 — Businesses need to have a diverse mindset and be intentional about the people that they recruit. Additionally, businesses need to foster a culture of inclusivity and provide the necessary resources.