Just how male-dominated are Austin’s tech meetup groups?
Very, according to an analysis done by Amalie Barras, a co-organizer of the Open Austin meetup.
According to her study of 15 Austin tech meetups from 2016, she found 255 speaking spots, with 14.5 percent of those slots occupied by women.
She found that out of 74 single-speaker events, 11 women spoke.
Multi-speaker events included more women, with 25 out of 146 speakers being women. But Barras noted that 10 of those 25 came from a Word Press group where the same woman leads a regular workshop.
Of course it’s not exactly surprising that women would be under-represented in tech-focused meetup groups. Only about 21 percent of tech jobs are occupied by women, Barras notes.
Still, her findings show there is work to do when it comes to inviting women to speak at tech panels and events. Barras said she was inspired to do her analysis after reading a similar analysis done in Washington, D.C. by Kate Rabinowitz. That study found that even fewer women spoke at tech meetups than in Austin.
Barras, who says she is “not calling anyone sexist or intentionally exclusive of women,” quotes from Rabinowitz’s analysis when explaining why there might be fewer women speakers:
The speaker gap likely grows from ingrained networks and implicit bias. But as large, professional communities, these meetups should consider it their responsibility to more accurately reflect, and champion, diversity in the industry.”
Barras notes that there are several women-centric meetup groups for women in tech, such as Women Who Code, PyLadies and ChickTech Austin. She did not include these groups in her study because she wanted to look at whether non-female specific groups were giving women a platform to speak.
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