From the suffrage movement to labor activism, women have had a long fight for equality in society and in the workplace. And that fight isn’t over, especially for women who go into science, technology, engineering, and math … or STEM … fields of work. A study from the U.S. Department of Commerce found that only 24 percent of the people who work in STEM are female. That’s right, only 1 in 4 of the STEM workforce is women. But there is work to change that, and we’re going to be speaking with some of Las Vegas’ leading women in technology.
What began three years ago as a non-traditional fundraiser has evolved into an annual summit designed to inspire and empower Reno-Tahoe women as well as support the well being of women living in poverty in Kenya. The Women As Change Makers Summit: Brilliant Women & Bold Ideas (WACM) is a local event with global reach. It is an opportunity for women to come together, learn new skills, be inspired and feel supported. WACM is scheduled to take place Friday, Oct. 21, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at The Third Floor at Whitney Peak Hotel in downtown Reno.
A survey of the fastest-growing startup companies in Northern Nevada found that roughly half are run by women founders. This is far above the national average, according to the Kauffman Foundation Startup Activity Index that states that only 36.8 percent of new entrepreneurs are female. These local companies are very diverse, ranging from management software, to custom apparel, to biochemicals and consumer products. The Summit Venture Mentoring Service, a program managed by EDAWN’s Entrepreneurial Team, takes in early-stage startups and organizes a team of mentors around them to guide them towards success. Of the 23 startups supported by the program in the past year, 12 of them were solo female founders or had a female co-founder.
While women make up 59 percent of the U.S. labor force, women hold only about 22 percent of leadership positions in the country’s top tech companies, according to company diversity reports. That’s not the case at Switch, where half of the company’s 14 top executives are women. Several hold high-level technical positions, including having chief responsibility for construction and engineering.