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Broadening participation

TECHNOLOchicas: A Critical Intersectional Approach Shaping the Color of Our Future

middle school girls in TECHNOLOchicas LiFT T-shirts

Latina middle school girls at the launch of TECHNOLOchicas LiFT in Arizona in March 2018.

Credit: Flickr

Achieving diversity in computing is a pressing national concern in the U.S.8,14 Computing-related jobs will be among the fastest growing and highest-paying over the next decade according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.16 Yet, women are significantly underrepresented in computing degrees and careers, holding only 26% of U.S. computing occupations.17 There is even a greater dearth of women of color in computing, especially Latinas. Eighteen percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic and Latinx, yet currently only 1% of the jobs in the computing workforce are occupied by Latinas. Latinx girls represented a mere 4% of all students taking the AP computer science exam in 2017.11 In 2014, Hispanic women received only 2% percent of doctoral degrees in computer and information sciences.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT; see was chartered in 2004 to broaden the participation of women and girls across the technology ecosystem (K–12, higher education, and industry). NCWIT's organizational mission is centered around the concept of intersectionality: equity efforts must take into consideration how race, class, gender, and other aspects of identity shape strategies and approaches to broadening participation in computing.6 Research supports that such approaches are a key component in ensuring the full access, engagement, and inclusion of women and girls of color in STEM and computing.1,2,9,14


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