Veteran Portland tech professional Jennifer Cloer said says the industry isn’t just failing to recruit women — it’s chasing them away.(
The dearth of women working in the tech industry has been well documented, but Jennifer Cloer says she’s most concerned about the number of women leaving the industry.
Gender disparities in pay, lack of promotional opportunities, online harassment and other factors make a tech career less appealing to women, said Cloer, who has held communications jobs in Oregon’s tech sector for more than 15 years. And even as large companies boast about efforts to diversify their businesses, she said they don’t seem to be getting it right.
"Tech jobs are the most lucrative jobs in the world, so women need both access to these opportunities and the desire to pursue them," Cloer says. "And we need women and more minorities building technologies that today are being consumed by an increasingly global and diverse population."
So Cloer is launching an online documentary film series to highlight issues confronting women in tech. The project, called "Chasing Grace," kicked off Thursday at the Open Source Summit in Thursday. Episodes will stream on the project’s website – but Cloer said she’s negotiating a partnership for episodes to appear elsewhere first.
"Chasing Grace" plans six installments altogether, streaming online. Cloer has already filmed several interviews, including six with female technologists in Portland. The first episode is already in production and near release, she said. The next five will come every month or so.
Oregon men working in tech receive an average wage of nearly $117,000 annually. Women, according to census numbers, earn almost one-third less.
"I’ve learned through all of these conversations that the experiences for men and women in tech are very, very different," Cloer said. "The more we can surface and share those stories, the more we can build understanding and support each other."
— Mike Rogoway; twitter: @rogoway; 503-294-7699
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