Computer scientist Grace Hopper was a legendary figure in tech that opened doors for so many women through her industry-changing programming work in the 20th century. And in today’s world of tech, companies are upholding her legacy by giving women fair opportunities to pursue their dreams and effect change just like Hopper did.
Driving change could not have been easy in Hopper’s time, and conditions are still not perfect for women in the industry — but many tech companies are working to change that. Through initiatives like fair hiring practices, and participating in and sponsoring conferences like those dedicated to Hopper herself, the following tech companies are working to fight some of the major issues women in tech still face. Five Chicago companies below described how they’re empowering women on their teams and in their communities.
The investment firm PEAK6 does a lot to get face-to-face time with women in the greater tech community, according to Tech Project Manager Natalie Langan. She said the company sends employees to Florida to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration and speak with college-age techies, and hosts a poker game designed to evolve the professional skills of local women.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration 2019 in Orlando, Florida. More than 25,000 people attended this amazing annual event focused on women in technology.
We spoke with students, teachers, and other professionals about our common goal of increasing the number of women in tech. Many of the college students I talked to were unaware of how many tech companies are currently looking for women like themselves. It’s clear that companies need to do more outreach to target female technologists in their college careers.
By having a presence at the Grace Hopper Celebration, PEAK6 was able to show our commitment to supporting women in technology. From a personal development perspective, our team also had the opportunity to see well-known speakers and learn about topics of global interest. We spent four days of the conference networking with other women to discuss what’s happening in our industries. It’s not every day that you get to surround yourself with thousands of like-minded, career-driven women that are channeling the same drive and enthusiasm as you.
It’s clear that companies need to do more outreach to target female technologists in their college careers.
Attending this conference conveys just one of the many ways that PEAK6 is committed to supporting the women in our organization. We went beyond just talking about outreach to women and instead had the opportunity to actually connect with thousands of them.
I am proud to be a part of a firm that is making an impact by developing opportunities for women in many tangible ways — from offering all-women internships in technology and trading to hosting the Poker PowHER initiative to help young women build skills in decision-making, risk-taking, and strategy. I am beyond grateful that from the highest levels of leadership, PEAK6 encourages and supports the women across our firm to learn and grow.