Walk the Talk: Empowering Women in Tech

Eastwick was first involved in helping promote the accomplishments of women in the Valley back in 2002 when we worked with two organizations, Catalyst Women and Professional Area Network for Women in Technology (PANW) later renamed Alliance of Technology and Women (ATW), focused on supporting women in tech and business. Thirteen years later, we still fight alongside women in tech, represented by clients Women’s Startup Lab, Anita Borg Institute, Women 2.0 and New York-based Mediaocean that is launching a women in tech initiative with some real teeth behind it.

However, I need to finally come clean. While the agency has lent its communications expertise to promoting women’s successes, I was a passive bystander for many years. I was like many female CEOs. I thought of myself as a CEO with a very full plate, dealing with complex business issues. I didn’t see myself as a “woman” CEO. I had attended a few women’s networking events over the years but never really felt like I could relate to the “dress for success” crowd that often attended these events.

I got a wake up call when I attended an awards ceremony put on by Watermark, one of the premier organizations supporting women executives in Silicon Valley (former Eastwick client and friend, Marlene Williamson is the current CEO). I was amazed at how many young women were in the audience soaking up every bit of advice. It made me think of my own daughters now in the working world in SF. While my girls grew up with a mom working in tech, many young women didn’t have that role model, and we can argue that today, there are still not enough role models for women.

According to Anita Borg Institute, women currently make up about 25% of the technical workforce and earn about 18% of computer science degrees, but it wasn’t always that way. In the mid ‘80s women took home 37% of computer science degrees. This isn’t a pipeline issue. It’s a cultural issue that business is driving. This market reality is what makes women like Whitehouse CTO, Megan Smith, Re/code founder Kara Swisher, Neustar CEO Lisa Hook, Reachlocal CEO Sharon Rowlands, CEO Telle Whitney and Anita Borg Institute SVP Elizabeth Ames or the dozens of entrepreneurs that Women’s Startup Lab and Women 2.0 have launched, such pioneers.

We believe different perspectives and backgrounds make Eastwick and our clients more innovative, creative and competitive in delivering the best results in the market. We’ve learned that today’s gender issue is beyond “leaning in.” Recently, I noted on Medium there will be no gender equality without financial parity, and in light of Ellen Pao vs. Kleiner Perkins trial, and this month’s Equal Pay Day, Eastwick has and continues to partner with the leading organizations promoting women in STEM and entrepreneurship.

As strategic partners for our clients, we push the industry to see gender diversity as a business imperative, educating the media and our constituents on unconscious bias and strategies companies can take today. And our results speak for themselves with top tier momentum in a range of publications. For example:

· CEO Ari Horie of Women’s Startup Lab was named “CNN’s Visionary Woman” and Marie Claire’s “20 Women Who Are Changing the Ratio” as “The Rainmaker.”

· In March, we celebrated with Women 2.0 at their Innovation Unleashed Awards with momentum that featured all our Women in Tech clients in an attention grabbing think piece from The Guardian, “Silicon Valley is Cool and Powerful. But where are the women?”

· Anita Borg Institute recently announced the winner and leading companies in the Top Companies Award and Leadership Index, the definitive standard that identifies companies committed to attracting, retaining, and promoting women in technical roles; it also frames original data and insights about the larger trends and challenges around gender diversity in technology in meaningful ways. ABI’s leadership in STEM helps celebrate progress garnered coverage and interest from publications like CIO.com, CNNMoney, Mashable, Inc., Fast Company, GeekWire, Silicon Valley Business Journal, and more.

· In May, Eastwick looks forward to Mediaocean’s Internet Week New York panel, which will dive into how women are making waves in technology. If you or any of your colleagues are in New York City May 18–24th be sure to join.

Want to track the latest women in tech news? Follow us on Twitter @eastwickcom.

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