Driving WinTech talks to Regina

Driving WinTech Event Recap


Recap of Community Conversation in Regina

Reg3a
Reg4a

By Nav Nagra

It was a charming setting in Regina where everyone gathered to speak about the power of women in tech. This Community Conversation was sponsored by iQmetrix and Gas Buddy, at Innovation Place on Tuesday September 26.

Driving WinTech’s Saskatchewan Provincial Ambassador, Emily Zinn, thanked everyone for coming. She introduced Melissa Kendall, Technical Writer for iQMetrix and Lucy He, Director of Product for Gas Buddy. They spoke about the innovations and creative thoughts Driving WinTech has to ensure the tech industry benefits from the skills of women.

Melissa Kendall grew up marveling at the computers she built with her father. She was drawn to Computer Science but acknowledged that the courses seemed to be for men and about men. In high school she returned to Computer Science and Programming, learning C Sharp from a member of Microsoft. She got a university degree in Computer Science and reflected on the possibility of what would have happened if she had said no to the study when she was a kid and only saw men in the field. She added, “One event can make such a difference in someone’s life.” Melissa encouraged women towards Computer Science and noted how gaming is an effective introduction to it.

Lucy He spoke about taking responsibility for women in tech. Her career started in management, consulting for Fortune 500 companies. Along the way she learned about being a woman in technology. She supported herself and others in tech. When Lucy graduated college she realized that women in tech was simply, “not a thing.” She learned that in Canada, for every dollar a man earns, a woman earns 88 cents.

Lucy noted that it didn’t seem to matter how much women worked – the pay inequality sprang from implicit biases towards men regardless of whether a woman was equally qualified. She believes these biases are unconscious, but common in the tech world. She recalled a study that compared resumes. The study participants believed the male candidate was more competent and employable than the female, even though the resumes were similar.

She cited another study, which found that when code is gender-neutralized, it’s usually the women’s code that gets accepted over the men’s. Lucy believes in supporting others by acknowledging such subconscious biases. She encouraged herself and others to create the impression that women are capable and effective, especially in math and data. She also reminded everyone that women deserve to be heard. She highlighted the importance of building relationships and acknowledging when good work is done.

We thank our community partners: Regina Engineering Society, SaskInteractive, Economic Development Regina. Stay tuned for more recommendations from Driving WinTech’s Community Conversations in a future blog series.

Driving WinTech talks to Regina

Driving WinTech Event Recap


Recap of Community Conversation in Regina

Reg3a
Reg4a

By Nav Nagra

It was a charming setting in Regina where everyone gathered to speak about the power of women in tech. This Community Conversation was sponsored by iQmetrix and Gas Buddy, at Innovation Place on Tuesday September 26.

Driving WinTech’s Saskatchewan Provincial Ambassador, Emily Zinn, thanked everyone for coming. She introduced Melissa Kendall, Technical Writer for iQMetrix and Lucy He, Director of Product for Gas Buddy. They spoke about the innovations and creative thoughts Driving WinTech has to ensure the tech industry benefits from the skills of women.

Melissa Kendall grew up marveling at the computers she built with her father. She was drawn to Computer Science but acknowledged that the courses seemed to be for men and about men. In high school she returned to Computer Science and Programming, learning C Sharp from a member of Microsoft. She got a university degree in Computer Science and reflected on the possibility of what would have happened if she had said no to the study when she was a kid and only saw men in the field. She added, “One event can make such a difference in someone’s life.” Melissa encouraged women towards Computer Science and noted how gaming is an effective introduction to it.

Lucy He spoke about taking responsibility for women in tech. Her career started in management, consulting for Fortune 500 companies. Along the way she learned about being a woman in technology. She supported herself and others in tech. When Lucy graduated college she realized that women in tech was simply, “not a thing.” She learned that in Canada, for every dollar a man earns, a woman earns 88 cents.

Lucy noted that it didn’t seem to matter how much women worked – the pay inequality sprang from implicit biases towards men regardless of whether a woman was equally qualified. She believes these biases are unconscious, but common in the tech world. She recalled a study that compared resumes. The study participants believed the male candidate was more competent and employable than the female, even though the resumes were similar.

She cited another study, which found that when code is gender-neutralized, it’s usually the women’s code that gets accepted over the men’s. Lucy believes in supporting others by acknowledging such subconscious biases. She encouraged herself and others to create the impression that women are capable and effective, especially in math and data. She also reminded everyone that women deserve to be heard. She highlighted the importance of building relationships and acknowledging when good work is done.

We thank our community partners: Regina Engineering Society, SaskInteractive, Economic Development Regina. Stay tuned for more recommendations from Driving WinTech’s Community Conversations in a future blog series.

Everyone knows that we are living in an increasingly tech-enabled world. Not surprisingly, this is reflected in the number of jobs that are now available in the tech industry. The problem is, while the Computer Science workforce has grown by 60% since 1991, the percentage of young women going into the industry has declined (Stats Canada 2011). This needs to change.