While the pandemic halted international travel, it only helped Women Who Code (WWC) become an even more integral part of the global tech community.
CEO & co-founder Alaina Percival told Hypepotamus that the non-profit was in 20 countries before the start of the pandemic. In early 2021, they have a quarter of a million members in 122 countries.
That’s an impressive number for an organization that relied heavily on in-person events. “Our core focus is around seeing diverse women excel in their technology career. We’re really helping people in the industry make it to that 11th year and make it to those leadership positions,” said Percival.
Getting to that 11th year has become even more difficult for many women over the course of the pandemic. A 2020 survey suggests that 50% of women left the tech industry by the age of 35, often due to a lack of inclusivity, flexibility, or opportunity. A recent A McKinsey survey found that 23% of women with young children are considering leaving the workforce completely given burnout or pandemic-related exhaustion.
Tackling The Tech Talent Problem
Thanks to a partnership with The Home Depot, Women Who Code (WWC) moved its headquarters to Atlanta in late 2018, with the expressed goal of furthering the careers of women in tech.
Other high-profile West Coast companies have followed suit over the last year and have moved to Atlanta specifically to hire and support more diverse talent. “This radical transformation [after COVID] brings a lot of opportunities,” Percival said. “We’ve seen a lot of tech companies coming to invest here in Atlanta, and they’re realizing they don’t have to have people working just in the Valley.”
But it is the remote work trend that Percival feels has the greatest potential to help the tech talent pipeline become more equitable for both young women and seasoned leaders in the space.
“Remote work offers a lot more opportunity, especially for women. Perhaps historically, the family wouldn’t move for her career. Now she’s able to excel in her career and have opportunities at top tech companies through remote work.”
WWC has also benefited from the switch to remote. It has expanded the non-profits overall target audience as the team has started to focus on bringing in new talent traditionally unable to break into tech.
“In Atlanta, we are incredibly fortunate to have the tech community to support us and the expertise here to create amazing leadership events. But when you think about small towns and other countries around the world that don’t have access to resources like Women Who Code, making that available suddenly increases our reach and impact. So this really hard moment has enabled us to serve our broader community.”
WWC’s global community has access to a member job board with many remote/flexible roles and recurring study groups and online events for those breaking into tech as well as tech employees looking to level up.