Tag Archives: Technology

Andreessens Give $250,000 to LGBT Groups, Trans*H4CK and Lesbians Who Tech

Famed Silicon Valley venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and philanthropist Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, are giving $250,000 to two LGBTQ organisations, USA Today reports.

One of these is Lesbians Who Tech, an organisation that supports and connects gay women in the tech industry through events in the US and abroad. The organisation will use its $165,000 gift to launch two pilot programs. Bring a Lesbian to Work Day will provide shadowing opportunities for gay women considering a career in tech and match them with mentors, while the Coding Scholarship Fund will help with tuition assistance for attending coding schools.

The other is Trans*H4CK, a nonprofit that puts on hackathons to develop new tech products for the trans and gender non-conforming communities. Trans*H4CK will use its $85,000 grant to build an online hackathon space and education center to help build more apps and other tech for the transgender community.


Arrillaga-Andreessen told USA TODAY in an interview.

We are just thrilled that there are two such high potential organizations that already have demonstrated measurable impact that we can support to create an even broader sense of inclusion in the technology sector.”

For years Silicon Valley has positioned itself at the forefront of the gay rights struggle. And, from rainbow emoji on social media to colourful floats in the Pride parade in San Francisco, the technology industry publicly celebrated the Supreme Court’s embrace of same-sex marriage this weekend.

Yet while many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are optimistic about the advances being made in the industry and in society at large, they say Silicon Valley is still very much a straight man’s world, not as accepting and welcoming as it should be.

Natalie Johnson, a partner with Paradigm, a strategy firm that consults with tech companies on diversity and inclusion.

It’s great that many companies are supportive of LGBT rights and issues, because that support draws attention to some of the challenges LGBT individuals face. But that external support isn’t enough to create a welcoming and inclusive culture for the LGBT community within a company.”

Inclusion is the hallmark of a series of grants the Andreessens are making to groups that are on the front lines of bringing greater diversity to the white-and-Asian-male-dominated technology industry.

‘Lesbians Who Tech’ Wants to Connect Queer Geeks, Get More Women in Tech

The statistics on women in the technology industry are astounding. As of 2013 women made up just 26% of the computing workforce with most of the women in the industry being white women (16%) and half of that (8%) being women of colour.

According to a study by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) making teams more diverse is vital to their success. Their results concluded that diverse teams not only have better performance but the morale of the team and the quality of the end product are both improved because of it.

Yet with such small figures of women being involved in the tech sector, something needs to be done. Consider Lesbians Who Tech one of the driving forces then as they want to make a more inclusive and more diverse space for queer women in the technology industry.

Lesbians Who Tech was founded in December 2012 by Leanne Pittsford. LWT wants to increase the following: the numbers of queer women in technology, the visibility of queer women in tech (including visibility outside of the queer female community) and to connect queer women in tech to platforms concerning social good and activism specifically.

While its goals should garner much support, Lesbians Who Tech are certainly up against it but their action plan to achieve these things could just work. In February/March 2014 Lesbians Who Tech hosted its very first summit in San Francisco where over 800 women (and queer allies) attended panels to not just learn about inequality in the tech industry but to look at how to tackle it.

For example, one point brought up was the humungous wage gap that women in technology face. In Silicon Valley (the tech hub of the United States), women make just 49 cents to every dollar a man makes which is literally paying men over twice the amount of money for doing the exact same work. This is even more egregious that the United States’ general wage page of women earning 81 cents for every dollar that a man makes.

That’s unacceptable and arguably by talking about this more, increasing the numbers of women in the field and calling for something to change, something will change and the tech industry will become a more diverse (and less sexist) place because of it.

You can find out more about Lesbians Who Tech and about upcoming summits at the source link below.

Source: Lesbians Who Tech