Retaining and Advancing Underrepresented Women in Technology: Insights from ITSMF EMERGE Survey and Focus Group

Alisha D. Malloy, Yolanda Smith
InSITE 2019  •  2019  •  pp. 275-293
Aim/Purpose: In this study, we explore the applicability of the social identity theory and the evolution of an initiative to address the issue of ensuring that women of color not only survive in the technology industry, but that they thrive in every aspect of leadership, including reaching the top senior executive levels (C-Suite) in their organizations.

Background: Despite all the evidence that diverse teams/workforces lead to higher revenues, greater innovation and enhanced creativity, white men still dominate the technology industry.

Methodology: This paper will provide insights gained from a Senior Capstone Project in which North Carolina Central University (NCCU) Computer Information Systems majors and faculty partnered with the Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) and Accenture to develop, deploy and analyze a survey and focus group results that identify, quantify and qualify the barriers, nuances and accelerators of Women of Color in technology.

Contribution: This study provides research on a population that has previously not received sufficient focus. While there are studies that have been conducted recently, this is one of the few studies that has been conducted to focus specifically on Women of Color in the technology industry.

Findings: The surveys uncovered several possible reasons why there may not be more Women of Color in high positions.

Recommendations for Researchers : More studies should be done to address the issues of attrition and lack of women and minorities at the C-Suite in the technology industry, as well as in other STEM industries.
diversity, information technology, social identity theory, women, women of color, underrepresented minorities
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