In recent times, women have made advancements within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field, but they still only comprise 35 percent of the STEM workforce, according to the National Science Foundation. Some reasons for this wide gap are the lack of role models, a culture that tends to exclude women from this field and the stereotypes that say that women do not have the abilities to succeed in STEM. Additionally, women in STEM earn 82 cents for every dollar men earn.
At Bellevue College, Isadora Silva, a creative software development student, started The Tech Sisterhood so women-identifying people in STEM can have a supportive community at BC. There is also a tech club at BC, but The Tech Sisterhood aims to provide more than just resources and general support. The Tech Sisterhood focuses specifically on supporting the needs of women in STEM, which differ greatly for those of the broader tech community, and promoting other women in tech, providing role models for aspiring female tech workers.
Recently, the club hosted guest speaker Shadae Holmes, a software engineer and manager in Seattle. Holmes shared her experience entering the tech industry after college through the ADA boot camp as well as the challenges she faced as the only Black woman in many scenarios she encountered throughout her career. She answered questions from the group and offered advice on how to overcome challenges women can face in the STEM field and change them to advantages.
The Tech Sisterhood plans on hosting more guest speakers and events. Currently, they are requesting funds to take club members to the Women in Tech Regatta in Seattle, which is an event to “connect wo(men) in tech to mentors, peers and resources.” The club plans to host many projects this year, including a beginning coding workshop, a hackathon, inclusivity-themed workshops and a tech talk series which will have more prominent women in tech speak about their experiences and give advice.
Silva started The Tech Sisterhood in January of this year, so they are continually promoting the club and always looking for more members. They meet virtually every Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. and have a lounge in Building U in Room 303 where members can have a “calm and supportive environment to study, connect and build relationships,” as described by Silva. If you have an interest in the club, want to network with other women in STEM or want to seek help in STEM, you can reach the club via their Discord server or Instagram.