Why have a Wear Purple Wednesday?
As our school is a Pacesetter affiliated with the National Center for Women in IT (NCWIT) and committed to growing the number of net new women in computing to address a critical national need, we celebrate that SOIC has tripled the number of undergraduate women, with a goal to continue this progress.
Women remain underrepresented in the field of technology, however, and similar to other environments with underrepresented groups, experience higher levels of challenges with respect to inclusion and unconscious bias. (CS undergrad women = 15% and Informatics = 24%). As the graduate assistant for Women in SOIC, I want to see us continue to increase these numbers and Wearing Purple on Wednesday is one way to increase awareness and have more people wrap their arms around the ideas and issues.
A corporation that is also involved as a NCWIT Pacesetter hosted one of our IU undergraduate women for an internship this summer. Every Wednesday, in their IT department of more than 1200 employees, anyone that chose to, could wear purple to raise awareness, celebrate, empower, and encourage women in technology. It was a room full of purple!
After hearing this young woman tell the story of her experience with this initiative, a group of women students here in SOIC decided to try to bring that sea of purple here to Indiana University – to raise awareness of this great career opportunity, to celebrate and help continue our growth, and to open conversations about experiences related to being underrepresented in this career field. Our group is also working on a plan to grow a group of male advocates for women and other underrepresented students in technology.