Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion Benefit Us All
Diversity in the tech sector still needs a lot of improvement. Compared to men, women in Canada are four times less likely to find employment in the tech industry, according to research from the Centre for International Governance Innovation. Of the visible minorities in Canada, only 7.6% work in the tech industry.
This industry ostensibly uses technology to solve human problems. Yet how can the industry fully identify the problems of women, people of colour, and 2SLGBTQ+ individuals when there aren’t enough of them in the tech workforce?
This article will discuss the benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion in tech, and what the industry can do to attract diverse individuals.
Why Diversity Matters
What’s holding women, people of colour, and 2SLGBTQ+ individuals from entering the tech workforce? Hint: It’s not a lack of skill.
In fact, many of the most notable programmers in history came from these kinds of backgrounds. The first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace, was a woman. Gay mathematician Alan Turing — whom younger audiences will recognize from the movie The Imitation Game — famously created the model for modern computers: the Turing machine.
America’s success during the space race hinged on contributions from a Black workforce. Black mathematician Katherine Johnson, made famous by Margot Lee Shetterly’s book “Hidden Figures”, calculated trajectories for Apollo and Mercury spaceflights. In an America still largely segregated, Johnson had to overcome workplace discrimination for her contributions to be heard.
These and countless other examples prove what we should all understand intuitively: Great minds can come from anywhere. Accordingly, when prejudice excludes entire groups of people, the tech workforce shrinks its talent pool and its potential to produce impactful work.
Beyond pure contribution, meanwhile, teams also gain a broader perspective when their workers come from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Workers can use their unique experiences to identify solutions that others cannot see. Better yet, they’ll also be able to identify and explain problems their own underserved or overlooked communities face — and then use tech to solve them.
The best way to promote diversity in the tech industry is to make relevant education more accessible. According to Computer Weekly’s article on coding bootcamps, high costs can make tech education inaccessible to low-income students. Given that women and people of colour tend to make less than their counterparts, these financial barriers to tech education tend to disproportionately affect minority groups. Here are a few specific solutions to this problem that are worthy of consideration: