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Solidarity In Tech: Why Diversity Matters

15 March 2019 by Charlotte Greene

Solidarity In Tech

Solidarity In Tech event at UKFast Campus (2018)

In today’s blog, we’re exploring why diversity in tech is crucial for business success, and how Solidarity In Tech is working to achieve this.

Other than moral responsibility, encouraging diversity means that the digital sector moves forward in the best possible way.

By ensuring people from a range of backgrounds are contributing in equal measures to innovation processes, we generate data that truly reflects society. In turn, we ensure that tech such as AI and machine learning – the world’s fastest growing technologies – are not fed bias and exclusive data.

How do we do this?

After centuries of white men dominating STEM sectors, achieving balance is a work in progress. Essentially, it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that all backgrounds are represented equally, and that every person is given equal opportunity and support regardless of their background, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc. After all, diversity fosters innovation.

Solidarity In Tech (SIT) is just one example of people coming together to solve the tech industry’s deep-rooted problem with diversity. The organisation works towards a better future and focusses on the inclusion of ethnic minorities while supporting other areas such as gender diversity and neurodiversity.

On Thursday 21st March, SIT will be holding their first event of the year at UKFast Campus, in partnership with USA-based organisation Technologists of Color.

This transatlantic event welcomes people from all backgrounds, in both the USA and UK, to take part in a live-streamed discussion. It focusses on the barriers present when entering and progressing within the tech industry and entrepreneurial sectors. Two panels on opposing sides of the Atlantic will discuss the issues we face in tech and how we can solve them.

It’s events like these that are changing the tech industry for the better.

Why is diversity in tech so important?

Here are some views from experts at Solidarity In Tech and Technologists of Color.

Dr. Elsa G. Zekeng, Co-Founder of Solidarity In Tech CIC:

“We believe that diversity and inclusion in the tech sector should be ingrained in every company’s DNA. The McKinsey & Co ‘Delivering Growth Through Diversity’ report shows that when a company hires diverse talent, their profitability and productivity rises by 40%.

“The people in these teams have opportunities to grow, develop their talent and obviously be economically empowered. It’s a win-win-win situation!”

Mark Lawson, Programming Lead at Technologists of Color:

“It’s important to demystify the inner workings of the technology industry and highlight the real opportunities that exist – opportunities which are not shown in the mainstream media as accessible to ethnic minorities. Allowing people to engage in honest dialogue with individuals who have navigated these spaces successfully helps make these achievements seem reachable.

“Our group is located in Atlanta, USA.  Hearing first-hand the experiences of the group in Manchester, UK provides more context to our personal experiences. It allows us to discover people in a different country facing similar challenges.”

Jamaal R. A. Brathwaite, Founder, Solidarity In Tech CIC:

“It’s simple: everybody should be able to have a seat at the table. We’re in the fourth industrial revolution with the technology sector leading the way. This opens up opportunities for those who are interested and informed. But this also means there are people who may be interested but uninformed.

“Solidarity In Tech is a space to help break down barriers and employ true diversity across the board. Our purpose is to ensure that no one is left behind. We aim to engage, raise awareness, and present opportunities in the technology sector to minority groups. Solidarity In Tech’s aspiration is to reach out to socioeconomically deprived communities as well as communities already existing in the city centre and make careers in the tech sector accessible and obtainable for ALL.”

Find out more about Solidarity In Tech’s event.

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