Lesbians Who Tech, an organization that supports and connects LGBTQ women in the field of technology through gatherings across the county, was awarded a $165,000 grant from the Arrillaga- Andreessen Foundation. Run by a husband and wife team, the Foundation awarded the grant to Lesbians Who Tech with the goal of raising the visibility of sexual orientation and gender identity in the technology world.
“The reality is that we don’t have any real data on whether or not LGBTQ people face discrimination in Silicon Valley and we need that data,” says Founder and CEO Leanne Pittsford. “We do know that women and people of color are underrepresented here and obviously queer women are accounted for within that community. And for lesbians and queer women we can only deduce how the issues facing women are magnified. For example, if women make less than men, our economic disparity is magnified in comparison with straight couples and especially gay male couples.”
With the grant, the organization will be launching two starter programs. Bring a Lesbian to Work Day is a mentorship program where participants will be matched with mentors in the tech field for a one day on-site program focused on showing the women involved what it takes to be leaders in the respective fields. The second program is a Coding Scholarship Fund which will subsidize tuition for women who need financial assistance to attend coding academies.
“We all know that you can’t be what you can’t see and queer women need more role models,” says Pittsford. “We want to lift the names and faces of queer women into the discussion so that they are being talked about. It is about changing the face of the demographic that has belonged solely to men.”