Assessing our community: PDX Women in Tech report on the state of the Portland technology community

For all of the fanfare and hype, the Portland startup community — and tech community at large — is still full of problems and faults. A lot of them. And those are issues that we’ll never begin to correct without a stark and objective assessment of the current state of the community. And that’s why I’m so thankful for organizations like PDX Women in Tech who take the opportunity to assess our progress as a community.

This year’s PDXWIT “State of the Community” report reveals more than previous efforts. Revealing a number of issues that prevent our community from being truly equitable and inclusive.

Each year, Portland Women in Technology (PDXWIT) captures important data about the Portland tech industry, independent of company and group or association affiliation. Our goal is to deeply understand what it is like for people in the community and to identify themes that need to be addressed.

This year, what we found was stark, but not surprising.

The organization—more than 5000 strong—had nearly 20% of their membership participate. And the results, sadly, were unsurprising.

As The Oregonian captured:

A survey out Tuesday suggests harassment and stereotyping remain common in Oregon’s tech scene despite the state’s progressive reputation and years of work to improve workplace conduct. Nearly a fifth of female respondents say they experienced harassment on the job in the past year alone, according to the survey from PDX Women in Tech, a nonprofit that seeks to support women working in the regional tech community.

And the Portland Tribune highlighted:

“What we discovered was shocking, but not surprising,” Megan Bigelow, founder and president of PDX Women in Tech (PDXWIT), told the Business Tribune recently. “Many of us felt things were getting better, but we didn’t understand why. Two pieces of data stood out: 17 percent of surveyed PDXWIT members have experienced workplace harassment in the last 12 months, and of them, 63 percent did not report it. Which I personally found extremely heartbreaking,” she said.

And unfortunately, those are just a few of the important points highlighted by the survey results.

For more insights, I encourage you to spend some significant time with the results— compiled in an easily accessible way by local dev shop Planet Argon—in the PDXWIT State of the Community 2018.

We can do better Portland. And this benchmark gives us the baseline on which to improve.