While funding news and customer wins are always good to hear, it’s also nice to see some of Portland’s more philanthropic efforts getting the attention they deserve. That’s why it was great to see Entrepreneur Magazine recognizing Portland’s Michelle Rowley as one of “The 7 Most Powerful Women to Watch in 2014.”
Michelle is the founder of Code Scouts, an organization focused on enabling more women to enter the world of coding and application development.
Computer-related employment is growing rapidly, but gender diversity is woefully behind other industries. Although women made up 51 percent of 2012’s professional work force, they accounted for only a quarter of computer-industry staffing. Women make up 34 percent of web developers, 23 percent of programmers, 20 percent of software developers and 15 percent of information-security analysts. Perhaps most shocking, only 1.5 percent of open-source code–the backbone of the web–is programmed by women.
Rowley learned to code through friends and self-teaching, and once she got work as a programmer, she entered a primarily male work environment. She was often asked to represent the female perspective. “That is a weird dynamic–being the only woman in the room–and they are all staring at you because they have to,” she says. “I thought, I wonder how the dynamics would change if we could get more women involved.”
For more on Michelle and her six peers to watch, visit Entrepreneur.
(Image credit Aaron Hockley. Used with permission.)