Portland Women in Technology - Encouraging Women To Join Tech

Portland women in technology (pdxwit), founded in 2012, is a 501c3 non-profit with the purpose of encouraging women to join tech and supporting and empowering them so they stay in tech.

What started out as a small group of 15 women meeting socially at a local bar has turned into a highly-engaged and active community of over 5000 people–inclusive of allies–which represents nearly 30% of Portland’s tech workforce. The organization has partnered with over 80 tech companies, over 40 of whom are providing ongoing support of the organization as sponsors.

It was 2007 when Megan Bigelow discovered she was making 30% less than her male colleague doing the exact same job. She had never heard of gender equity and had always thought tech was a meritocracy, leaving her to assume that there was something wrong with her.

In those days there was very little, if any, community support for women and other underrepresented groups in the tech industry. In 2011, five years later, Megan attended the Grace Hopper Women in Computing conference where she experienced—for the first time—women from the same industry coming together to support one another. It was at this moment Megan realized the power of community could be the antidote to her constant desire to leave the industry that she loved.

Megan Bigelow, President & Founder

Elizabeth Stock, Executive Director

THE ORGANIZATION

PDXWIT includes everyone: programmers, recruiters, engineering managers, project managers, technical support representatives, CEOs, engineers, quality assurance analysts, sales and marketing, students, and those who want to transition into tech, to name a few.

The organization is led by Executive Director, Elizabeth Stock; Board President, Megan Bigelow; Board Vice President, Maureen Jemison; Secretary Annie Schrock; Treasurer Jenni Corbett; board member Michelle Johansen, two part-time staff and nearly 70 volunteers.

PORTLAND WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY (PDXWIT), FOUNDED IN 2012, IS A 501C3 NON-PROFIT WITH THE PURPOSE OF ENCOURAGING WOMEN TO JOIN TECH AND SUPPORTING AND EMPOWERING THEM SO THEY STAY IN TECH.

PDXWIT produces 60 events per year, which include a monthly Happy Hour for networking and support, technical skill building and career advancement workshops as well as niche networking events for job seekers, women of color, individuals who live outside of the downtown core and women with over 15 years of experience in the industry.

In addition to workshops and events, PDXWIT operates Portland’s most active tech job board, listing nearly 100 jobs per month. They also offer a mentorship program that pairs more experienced people in the industry with those early in their career or planning to make the transition into tech.

PDXWIT’s thought leadership and advocacy are unparalleled.

They have worked on many efforts: to eliminate gendered terms (such as “guys”) from our vocabulary; to raise awareness on harassment in the workplace; to hold partner companies accountable for their language in advertisements; to encourage higher standards for all sponsor companies; and to take measures to ensure diverse representation in speakers and panels.

THE PURPOSE

To strengthen the Portland women in tech community by offering educational programs, partnerships, mentorships, resources, and opportunities. They are unifying a supportive environment for current and potential women in tech, all of whom are committed to helping each other.

Their goal is to bring together and empower women in tech and to encourage others to pursue tech careers. They aim to reduce the gender imbalance in the industry and address the current negative effects of that imbalance on women.

PDXWIT is inclusive. All people who support their purpose are welcome to join and they welcome and affirm non-binary and trans people as a matter of principle.

THE VISION

To be Portland’s trusted resource of support, empowerment, growth, engagement, fun, and learning opportunities for women and their supporters, in all stages of their technology careers. We will accomplish this by being a vigilant fixture in the Portland community, partnering with the community, businesses, organizations, and individuals to achieve success.

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