Diversity Woman Magazine

SPR 2019

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/1096324

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d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m S p r i n g 2 0 1 9 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 23 We Mean Business > justice curriculum, and life skills program- ming. SMASH has been, well, a smashing success. For example, alumni have re- ceived bachelor degrees in a STEM field at rates twice the national average. In 2018, the Kapor Center released its "Leaking Tech Pipeline" report. It's objec- tive is to reveal the areas—pre-K-12 edu- cation, higher education, the tech work- force, and entrepreneurship and venture capital—in which people of color are at a disadvantage, culminating in some eye- opening figures. For example, just 1 per- cent of investment team members at VC firms are black. For work such as this, former NAACP president Benjamin Jealous, now a part- ner at Kapor Capital, has called Kapor Klein "the moral center of Silicon Valley" for her quest to hold tech companies accountable. Diversity Woman spoke to Kapor Klein to get her unvarnished take on the D&I challenge in the STEM sector. Diversity Woman: How have the chal- lenges for women and underrepresented groups changed over the last 30 years? Freada Kapor Klein: I have been connect- ed with and investing in tech companies and start-ups continuously since leaving Lotus in 1987. Back then, ironically, there were more women in tech than today. Many of the original computer operators, for instance, were women of color. So it is important for people to understand that what is going on in tech now is backward. Back then, sexism was much more blatant, but in some ways it was clear and out-front. For example, you could fire someone because she got pregnant. Today there are more protections so you can't do that. But the numbers [of women] have fallen in technology in part because women, particularly women of color, get passed over for promotion. The Gadfly By Jackie Krentzman L ong before the current genera- tion of diversity and inclusion prac- titioners began trying to figure out how to make companies more diverse and inclusive, there was Freada Kapor Klein. Kapor Klein, the cofounder with her husband, Mitchell (who developed Lotus Leading for Good Freada Kapor Klein, a longtime outspoken critic of the tech sector's diversity and inclusion efforts, urges Silicon Valley to use a more data-driven approach Notes), of the Kapor Center and the Level Playing Field Institute, has been working on the knotty problem of diversifying the tech industry since the 1980s. Over the decades, Kapor Klein has seen the technology sector explode—and the struggle for gender and racial equity con- tinue to be challenging. e Kapor Center, begun in 2000, was launched to diversify the STEM industry through educational programs, commu- nity outreach, and investing in diverse entrepreneurs (through its venture capital and investment arm, Kapor Capital). e center's core program is SMASH, which runs a summer STEM academy for un- derrepresented high school students on college campuses in eight cities. e acad- emy offers not only rigorous education in STEM disciplines, but mentorship, a social

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