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Diversity in the spotlight at Grace Hopper conference

Sharon Florentine | Oct. 18, 2016
The largest gathering of women technologists in the world reconvenes in Houston this week for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Technology.

Top Companies Leadership Index

Another significant change is the award presentation for ABI's Top Companies for Women Technologists, which creates a national benchmark and industry statistics around representation of women. This year, the Top Companies Leadership Index recognized 25 organizations where representation is above the mean, Ames says, and the winner - the company with the highest level of representation of women technologists - will be announced on GHC's main stage October 19, 2016.

"Our Top Companies awards are typically announced in the spring, but we adjusted slightly so that it would coincide with GHC. This year, we saw about 60 companies participate from across many different industries: tech, banking, finance, insurance, media, retail - overall, it represented 1.3 million employees total and over 540,000 technical employees, making it a good cross-section of the U.S.'s technical workforce," Ames says.

In addition, Ames says, the Top Companies Leadership Index piloted two new forms of measurement outside of strictly quantitative data: employee experience and sentiment and policies and processes, Ames says. These pilot measurements were optional for companies, but are necessary to assess what's working and what isn't when it comes to improving representation of women in tech.

A panel discussion, Insights from the Top Companies Leadership Index on October 19 will gather executive women technologists from four of these companies to discuss what processes and policies are most effective - and which aren't - when looking to attract, retain and advance women in tech. [Editor's note: This session is moderated by CIO senior writer Sharon Florentine.]

"Typically, we'd just look at the number of women at the entry, middle, senior and executive levels at these companies and compare those to their previous two years of data, and use a D-score to create a mean among the companies. But these new dimensions are looking at what it's truly like to work at these companies as a female technologist, and try and gauge employee experiences and sentiments. The section about policies and programs aims to discover if companies are offering benefits like, parental leave, flex time, mentoring, employee groups, education - to find out what's really making a difference," Ames says.

The closing keynote features Salesforce.com's CEO Marc Benioff and U.S. CTO Megan Smith before the customary end-of-conference dance party to honor the memory of Anita Borg.

"We think this year is going to be the best yet at GHC. We're so excited and thrilled with the opportunity to bring together so many brilliant, incredible women technologists, and to reinforce the wonderful sense of community we have with GHC," Ames says.

 

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