Let’s celebrate the women who have “gone too far” in tech

Rather than give the spotlight to men’s hurt feelings, we should be praising the women diversifying the tech industry.

Vanessa Valenti
Sep 28, 2017 · 6 min read

If you haven’t checked out the New York Times piece this week profiling men’s rights activists in the tech world lamenting that efforts to ensure more women are in the industry have “gone too far” (this phrase is literally in the headline) — it’s quite the read.

Going too far is an achievement in our book — especially considering how far we still have to go on both the gender and racial equity front. So rather than give the spotlight to random disgruntled dudes’ feels (because #nobromo), let’s give credit to (and invest in and hire!) the incredible women who have gone the distance in both enriching and diversifying the tech industry. Here are ten on our radar:

Kimberly Bryant, Black Girls Code

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Bryant is a tech engineer-turned-founder and president of Black Girls Code, a non-profit organization created introduce programming and technology to pre-teen girls, who she believes, “will become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures.” She told Forbes in a profile piece that she dares to dream the next Steve Jobs will be a woman of color. (*Insert prayer emoji*)

Sabrina Hersi Issa, Be Bold Media

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Sabrina is a technologist and CEO of Be Bold Media, a digital agency for global advocacy that works with a range of clients, and produces a hackaton series called #HackingRelief & #HackingHunger, which is used build and improve technology tools used for humanitarian relief and refugee services. She is also the organizer of Rights x Tech, a gathering for technologists and activists, and has won a boatload of awards for her efforts to leverage technology to expand access to direct services and press freedom. Because using technology to fight hunger, and help refugees and sexual assault survivors is just GOING TOO FAR, amirite??

Erica Joy Baker, Patreon

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Erica is the Senior Engineering Manager at Patreon, where she oversees the Infrastructure Engineering team. She’s been in the tech scene for over 15 years, cutting her teeth at Google, after which she was senior engineer at Slack before heading to Patreon. She’s also been a leading voice for diversity and inclusion in the tech world, is a board member of Girls Develop It, a founding member of Project Include, and is part of several other initiatives involved in creating more equity in the field. Girl Gone — and gone too far. We’re about it.

Catherine Bracy, Tech Equity Collaborative

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Catherine Bracy is what we call a “civic hacker” — from serving as the Director of Community Organizing at Code for America to TED speaker to founding and currently leading Tech Equity Collaborative, an organization that works to organize the tech community to create a vibrant, tech-driven economy in the Bay Area that works for everyone. (We’re also lucky enough to represent her.) She has been calling out the homogeneity of Silicon Valley since before the first Google buses zoomed into the headlines, and is not going to stop now. She’s been disrupting the tech scene too long and too far. Go Catherine!

Gail Carmichael, Shopify

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Carmichael is heads up Shopify’s Computing Education Program, with the goal of better connecting computer science and computational thinking to the real world, and diversifying computer science as a field. This includes creating K-12 postsecondary programs in CS, mentoring students to create their own products, and even offering a unique BA in CS through both academic learning and working on industry-scale products at Shopify. She’s also the founder of Carleton University’s Women in Science and Engineering (CU-WISE), and is currently working to create a formal branch of Girl Develop It in Canada.

Karla Monterroso, Code2040

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Karla Monterroso is the VP of Programs at Code2040, an organization that aims to create pathways to success for Black and Latinx folks in the innovation economy. In her role, she creates and scales programs that connect young Black and Latinx talent with companies invested in diversity and inclusion. When asked how Code2040 has grown so rapidly, she replied, “The answer feels simple to me. We reject the premise that diversity in tech is an option.” Sorry not sorry, guys.

Fawn Qiu, Make Anything

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Fawn is an award-winning product manager who led the development of the Sesame Street Go app, and Amazon English, an english-learning tool out of Amazon for the Japan market. But where she really shines is through her “Make Anything” workshops that aim to educate and encourage diverse audiences to design their own technology projects. Her own project, Flappy Box, has drawn over 5.9 million views on YouTube, and her TED Talk has had over 1 million views. She’s gone millions of people too far. Hooray!

Molly Dickens, Bloomlife

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Molly Dickens is the head of content and community at Bloomlife, a company that has given present and future conceiving humans the gift that we have been waiting for — the world’s first and only wearable for pregnancy. For over a decade, she worked as research physiologist studying stress and reproduction. She’s then shifted her focus to the tech and science side of maternal health and childbirth — and writes about it to boot. Because pregnant humans deserve access to great technology too.

Maira Benjamin, Pandora

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Benjamin is the Director of Engineering at Pandora, where she leads the Playlist Algorithm, Music Tools, and Growth & Retention teams. She also is the CTO tech advisor for Relish, a sports media brand designed for female fans, and regularly evangelizes about tech inclusion in the media — when asked why she does what she does in a recent interview, she said, “People need to see me so that they feel they can be me someday.” We see you, Maira!

Tiffany Price, Kapor Center for Social Impact

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Tiffany Price is a full stack web developer and the Community Engagement Manager of the Kapor Center for Social Impact, which is a community of organizations focuses on increasing inclusion and diversity in the world of technology and entrepreneurship. She also serves on the board of /dev/color, and is on the advisory committee for Hack Reactor’s Scholarship program. Did we also mention she has a graduate degree in International Comparative Education from Stanford, and a BA in Chemistry from Emory University? Because you can’t go too far when it comes to being the genius that she is.

There are so many others; like the brave Ellen Pao of Project Include, Reshma Saujani of Girls Who Code, Candice Morgan of Pinterest, and more. But basically, our feeling is this: for every male tear shed over this idea that gender equality has “gone too far” in tech, another woman in tech should get a new promotion/ job/investment. Because yes.

Know other women who have #GoneTooFar in tech? Share below or on Twitter! Sign up for updates from FRESH Speakers, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Vanessa Valenti

Written by

Feminist. Hustler. Serial entrepreneur of ventures that make the world better, e.g. Feministing, Valenti Martin Media, FRESH Speakers. Queens girl for life.

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