Round after round of critiques in 2014 highlighted the systemic inequalities in Silicon Valley and tech culture.
Julie Ann Horvath’s experience at GitHub caused an investigation that led to a founder’s resignation. We heard stories about how venture capital was “no place for a woman.” Uber had to defend itself for not taking safety or privacy seriously.
These critiques indicate progress. When people feel comfortable challenging the status quo, it means we are on our way to change.
In 2015 expect to see more critical examination of tech culture, but also the following signs of progress:
More women will create technology together. Conferences by and for women and minorities, like Grace Hopper, are increasingly well-attended. Women are forming online communities like TechLadyMafia and TheLi.st, as well as in-person communities like Pyladies and Girls Who Code.
More women will found tech companies. The number of women founders in technology has grown significantly in the last few years. The founders of Birchbox, The Muse, Stitchfix, Gilt Groupe, Rent the Runway, and EventBrite are all women. We anticipate seeing more women creating companies to create technology.
We will recognize more of women’s contributions to technology. In 2014 we found out about the forgotten women from programming history and the forgotten women founders of companies. This gives hope that future contributions by women will get more recognition.
In 2014 we saw an unprecedented amount of discussion about what is wrong and how we can make things better. 2015 is a year to execute on these things. We look forward to seeing what happens.
Image via flickr user Alexandre Dulaunoy
Elena Glassman (@roboticwrestler) creates tools for teaching programming to thousands of students at once, and is President of MIT-MEET, which helps teach gifted Palestinians and Israelis computer science and teamwork in Jerusalem. Neha Narula (@neha) works on distributed systems and makes multicore databases go faster, and was previously a senior software engineer at Google. Jean Yang (@jeanqasaur)created the verified Verve operating system and the Jeeves programming language, and also co-founded Graduate Women at MIT.