The New Frontier: Black Women and Tech Activism

Friday, March 31, 2017, 7:30 p.m. PST

Last year, Disney released Hidden Figures, a feature length film that beautifully captured the real-life herstories of black women engineers at NASA in the 1960s. In spite of facing both racial and gender discrimination, these women, embodied the American hero archetype, advocating on behalf of their people while advancing the national agenda. However, as the title of the film suggests, these women were hidden from view and their contributions to the space program were largely ignored. Today, a similar situation unfolds in tech. Black women are a major component of the tech boom and routinely use their skillsets to both develop emerging markets and create innovative solutions for public safety. Yet, like their predecessors at NASA, these women, and their work, often goes unnoticed. Join us for a panel discussion with black women technologists on tech advocacy, talent pipelines for girls and women of color, and opportunities to connect social justice and technology silos. 

Location: Impact Hub LA 830 Traction Ave #3a, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. How are Black women represented in tech companies?

    • As of 2015, only 14 Black women worked at Twitter, which has around 3,000 employees. Other tech giants such as Microsoft (687 of 60,961 employees), Google (250 of 32,527) and Facebook (29 of 5,479) fare little better all hiring Black women as only 1% of their workforce.

    • Tweet: @Twitter, @Microsoft, @Google, & @Facebook need to hire more Black women than just 1% or less of their workforce #HerDreamDeferred

  2. How are Black women represented in tech startups? Only 4% of women-led tech startups are led by Black women (88 total)

    • Only 11 startups led by Black women have been funded for more than $1 million by outside investors. Moreover, these 11 are largely funded by the same three investors.

    • Tweet: Invest in Black women! We must put our money where our mouths are & encourage Black women in startups #HerDreamDeferred

  3. What does Black women leadership and initiative look like? Of the more than 10,000 venture deals minted between 2012 and 2014, only 24 (.2%) involved Black women as founders.

    • Only one Black woman, Kesha Cash, is the head of her own venture capital firm. Beyond that only three to four Black women are venture partners.

    • Ursula Burns resigned as CEO of Xerox in January. She was the only African American woman to head a Fortune 500 company.

    • African-American women made up just 1.5% of senior-level executives in the private sector in 2014. (AAUW)

    • Tweet: Encourage Black women! Black women make up just 1.5% of senior level execs in private sector in 2014. #HerDreamDeferred

  4. Why do we need to talk about Black women entrepreneurs?

    • The number of black women-owned businesses has more than tripled since 1997, making black females the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of black women-owned businesses grew by 67.5%, according to the National Women’s Business Council's Survey of Business Owners. (For comparison: white women-owned businesses increased by 10.1% within that same timeframe).

    • Tweet: Black women entrepreneurs are the future & fastest growing group (6x the rate of white women-owned businesses)--support your local BWE #HerDreamDeferred