Tech entrepreneurship is an incredibly influential platform, especially when advocating for societal issues and the opportunities for growth that can stem from them. When working out of TechTown and when feeling the need to use the restrooms, you’ll notice a sign on the doors sharing, “All are welcome to use the restroom that best fits their identity.” An almost easy to miss note that represents a broader message that TechTown encourages us to use whichever restroom we are associated with based on the gender identity we identify with.
This is one small way, but, grand way, in which the organization is promoting radical inclusion in the tech sector.
Given the importance that the tech sector plays in working to address societal challenges, having a diverse workspace makes it so that people of all lifestyle choices are taken into account in such an inclusive environment. Yet, as a video posted on TechTown’s website states, this issue still persists throughout the industry.
In calling out the lack of diversity across the tech sector overall, the video states “Tech entrepreneurship does not reflect the world’s diversity. Women, communities of color, LGBTQ-Identified people and those who exist at these intersections are severely underrepresented and underestimated. This lack of diversity exists at the large tech companies that train future tech founders. It also exists in the accelerators, incubators, coworking spaces, and conferences where they learn, connect and grow.”
This is why TechTown is working to break barriers and change the game by focusing its efforts on community organizing, cultural signifying, a trauma-informed approach, relevant representation, and critical race theory. The organization is aiming to implement these strategies through a multitude of steps.
The organization states you need to assess the current state of your organization by finding where it stands in regard to diversity and inclusion. Once you have done that, you can then create a safe place where people within your organization can speak candidly without fear of reprisal.
TechTown states you can then begin communicating widely, speaking with people about where your organization stands, and whether it has any weak areas. Once all information has been acquired, and your weak areas have been addressed, you can move to the next step, which would be prioritizing the implementation.
TechTowns plan is to drive accountability, the step in which your tech organization should be creating quantified goals with a deadline and a single person working to oversee them. They note that in this step, there should be complete clarity on whether the goals have been achieved.
TechTown research project on Radical Inclusion in Tech was funded by VentureWell and can be found here. The study offers solutions to the issue of diversity in tech, and further outlines the previously mentioned points, showing that the coworking pace goes above and beyond when it comes to promoting diversity and inclusion.