Addressing Systemic Barriers Limiting Black Women From Equitably Accessing and Participating in Resilient Tech Jobs
Black Women Business Network was one of the organizations selected to implement the Feminist Response and Recovery Program, a government-led initiative to support vulnerable and underrepresented women recover from the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 triggered one of the most devastating economic crises in history and exacerbated the social and economic impact of job inequities for Black women. However, the pandemic also presented unique opportunities for tech workers. With many people’s daily lives taking place online and as businesses increasingly rely on online ordering and service channels, tech workers are becoming a critical component of most industries. Technology will become even more important as the pandemic continues to reshape work.
At present, black women in Canada are under-represented in the tech sector, with attendant effects on their socio-economic status. For black women to be competitive in the post-pandemic economy, they must possess the required digital literacy and skills. Therefore, policies and practices that limit black women’s access to and participation in tech jobs need to be addressed.
Under this project, Black Women Business Network will work with key stakeholders and partners to support the economic security and prosperity of black women and girls in B.C and Alberta, by addressing systemic barriers limiting them from equitably accessing high-paying and resilient technology jobs.
Key Statistics - Black Women in Digital Tech
Although the number of women in tech is significantly lower than that of their male counterparts, this gap widens when considering women of colour. A Statistics Canada study from 2020 showed that Black women had lower rates of employment than other visible minorities. They were also underrepresented in the professional and technical fields. In computer and information systems, for example, about
(for context, Chinese, South Asian and Black women were about 4.8%, 5.4% and 3.5% of all women in Canada). Black women were mostly health care assistants, cleaners, and cashiers (Gagnon and Milan 2020).
At the end of the project, BWBN will have contributed to addressing systemic barriers by advancing inclusive policies and practices, increasing network collaboration to accelerate systemic change, and addressing persistent harmful gender norms and attitudes to support women’s equality. This includes identifying the systemic barriers through a “Leaky Tech Pipeline” Framework and providing policy recommendations to eliminate limiting policies and practices.