By: Monica Chen, Software Engineer at Coursera, and Devon Bowman, Talent Acquisition Team at Coursera
The Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) started in 1994 and it is now the largest conference for women in tech, and draws thousands of attendees (18,000 in 2017) from around the world (81 countries in 2017). Every year, women come together to share their stories, build their network, and uplift women at work and beyond. It took place this year in Houston, Texas, from September 26th to September 28th. The Convention Center was filled with inspiring individuals, an all-female mariachi band, a DJ, and lots of room to dance!
Coursera is a company that dedicates itself to create a platform where anyone, anywhere can learn from the world’s top universities and leading companies to transform their lives. In addition to accessible education, one of the company’s goals is to close the STEM gender gap and encourage female learners in fields traditionally dominated by men. That’s why there’s no place we’d rather be than the GHC. Just look at the stats*:
- Women own only 5% of tech startups
- Of the proprietary software jobs, only 28% are held by women
- Females only account for 11% of executive-level positions at Fortune 500 companies
There have been countless studies illustrating the benefits and necessity of a diverse workforce for many reasons, including the diversification of thought. In the past couple of years, employees within Coursera have founded the Women’s Employee Resource Group as a way to continue this conversation internally and understand how we can continue the momentum. Conferences like Grace Hopper Celebration and Watermark are key to unlocking advancement in the workplace.
“It was amazing to hear from so many intelligent, tenacious, and caring women who have worked hard to be where they are today. Priscilla Chan spoke on Thursday morning about Reimagining Philanthropy through Technology on behalf of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative which she currently leads. The main takeaway was to take action. Change and innovation come when we decide to stand up and use our voices, and we should never be discouraged from doing so – action will help us move forward and address so many systemic issues that have plagued society over the past few decades and centuries. It was also really inspiring to meet so many other conference attendees who had used Coursera in their lives, and were so grateful for the education that Coursera was able to provide to them.” – Devon Bowman
“One woman that I met told me that she recently just finish 14 courses on Coursera which helped her switch from Software Engineer to Data Scientist in her company As a software engineer, there is nothing that gives me more joy than meeting a user who loves our product and seeing that it has impacted their life.!” – Monica Chen