Women’s equality has always been an anguished topic during my several decades in tech. While there’s still a long way to go, the good news is that the action is starting to catch up with the talk. Many companies are working hard to correct “the tech equality gap.”
Companies are making advances, to some extent, out of their innate sense of fair play. But to an even larger extent, they are doing it because we have a major shortage of technical experts in the U.S., and women already have proven to be every bit as good at it as men. Just as in the true-story based movie “Hidden Figures,” we’re once again experiencing the kind of man shortage that gives women their chance to step up to the plate and shine.
I’m proud to be on the advisory board of CloudNOW, a non-profit consortium of leading women in cloud computing, dedicated to helping women realize their full potential. Today is a happy day for CloudNOW as we announce an innovative partnership for helping women achieve this goal.
Today, we’ve announced that the Holberton School, which trains about an equal number of women and men to be engineers, will be offering a new level of scholarship program, through a partnership of CloudNOW with Google, Accenture and Scality.
The Holberton approach already is breaking down privilege barriers, since it does not require any tuition payments until students have begun work. And most already have landed part time jobs as they get their degree – at Bay Area icons like Apple, NASA and LinkedIn.
The new scholarship adds yet another innovative dimension to helping those with more talent than monetary resources. Holberton is in San Francisco, where housing prices are astronomical. And a great academic opportunity doesn’t help a student if they can’t afford to live here. These new scholarship funds – of more than $40,000 to date – are dedicated to making it possible for deserving students to study here by subsidizing those costs.
We’re also gearing up for our annual headline event. On December 5, we’ll be holding our Sixth Annual Top Ten Women in Cloud Innovations Awards, hosted by Google, on its Headquarters Mountain View campus. The event draws hundreds of technology leaders and students – both men and women – for an afternoon of inspiration, learning and networking. Nominations are now being taken for the awards on the CloudNOW website, and tickets for the event will go on sale soon.