Championing diversity and allyship in tech

The words 'Championing diversity & allyship in tech' with ‘diversity & allyship’ highlighted in yellow and the other words in white, against a telephoto shot of the pride flag.
(Image credit: Future)

Gender diversity in the tech sector is slowly improving, but data shows that heterosexual and cisgender tech leaders fare better LGBTQ+ peers when it comes to feeling included in their work cultures and raising crucial funding rounds.

In its LGBTQ+ Founder report, Proud Ventures found that 18% of founders think their gender identity could have a negative impact on their fundraising, and 79% of LGBTQ+ investors stated that they have hidden their identity from colleagues.

It’s clear that more work needs to be done to promote an intersectional approach to diversity in the workplace, and for managers to be given the right education to become active rather than passive allies.

In this episode, Rory and Jane speak to Meri Williams, CTO at Pleo and trustee at Stonewall, to discuss the state of LGBTQ+ diversity in the tech sector and what can be done to improve support and representation across the landscape.

Highlights

“I think in everything diversity related, we need to take an intersectional approach, we have to realize that people who are affected by multiple underrepresented identities are even more affected than others. That's what we really mean by intersectionality.”

“We're finding that we have trans speakers who won't travel to the UK anymore because the UK is now regarded as such a negative environment for trans people, that people from America won't come to the UK to give a talk at our conference because they're trans and they feel like they would be in danger.”

“I'm in a position now, I'm a CTO, and I'm openly queer and a non-binary woman and all the rest of it. And I have friends who are the same, and 20 years ago I don't think that there was anybody who was openly gay in a CTO role that I knew about. And they definitely weren't women if they were”

Footnotes

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Rory Bathgate
Staff Writer

Rory Bathgate is a staff writer at ITPro covering the latest news on artificial intelligence and business networks. He can also be found co-hosting the ITPro Podcast with Jane McCallion, swapping a keyboard for a microphone to discuss the latest learnings with thought leaders from across the tech sector.

In his free time, Rory enjoys photography, video editing, and good science fiction. After graduating from the University of Kent with a BA in English and American Literature, Rory undertook an MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies at King’s College London. He joined ITPro in 2022 as a graduate, after four years in student journalism. You can contact Rory at rory.bathgate@futurenet.com or on LinkedIn.