Let’s take a moment to reflect on what women in tech accomplished last year. 

By Natalie Villalobos (Head of Global Programs, Women Techmakers at Google)

This post originally appeared on Medium.

It’s true, diversity and inclusion in the technology industry has had it’s ups and downs this past year. The conversation, like the progress, changes daily. I’ve been frustrated. I’ve cried. I’ve laughed. I’ve been inspired. 2015 was a year of growth and mindfulness for all of us. From deeply understanding intersectionality, to pushing new industry best practices, I’m resolute in the feeling that there’s so much for all of us to do in 2016.

As a part of my regular gratitude practice, I want to share some of the positive women in tech milestones that personally fueled me. That’s not to say that the negative, upsetting moments didn’t fuel me in their own way, or that this is an exhaustive list of all the awesomeness of this year. Also, some of these may be solutions that support all underrepresented people (not just women), and deserved to be called out. So much of the good never receives a press mention or a blog post, and it’s important for all of us to look out and identify who we can let the world know about. I encourage you to share your additions in the comments. Here’s to an even greater 2016!

Women Founders

too much bad ass’ness to mention — more women founders here, and here.

1. Melody McCloskey raised $25M for StyleSeat

2. Vivienne Ming launched Muse

3. Stephanie Lampkin launched Blendoor

Diversity & Inclusion at Companies


4. #PeopleOps2015 — the conference and conversation of changing HR practices

5. Paradigm — partnering with companies to be stronger, more diverse organizations
6. Salesforce adjusted employee pay by $3M to create gender parity
7. Netflix announced unlimited parental leave
8. Clef shared their employee handbook built to increase inclusion
9. Google launched re:Work to focus on people-first practices, research, ideas

Conferences & Events

10. The 15th annual Grace Hopper Conference hosted 12,000 technical women in computing in Houston (a 25% YoY increase). They also hosted a second Grace Hopper Conference in India

11. Google I/O increased the participation of women both in attendance, on-stage, and on the livestream

12. Women Techmakers hosted 128 events globally for women in tech in honor of International Women’s Day

13. Apple’s WWDC increased the visibility of women onstage

14. Twitter increased the participation of women developers at Flight

15. Tech Inclusion hosted its inaugural conference in San Francisco (and will expand to more locations in 2016)

16. Write/Speak/Code continued its mission to empower women software developers (2016 conference date and location already announced)

17. Lesbians Who Tech hosted events (check out all their chapters!) and received a $165,000 grant to pilot new programs

18. Latinity launched in Chile to support and empower women in technology and computing

19. Tech Superwomen hosted a conference to dive into diversity data

20. Y Combinator hosted their Female Founders Conference in San Francisco. Check out their Female Founder Stories

21. Girls in Tech hosted Pitch Nights globally (I was lucky to attend the San Francisco event where $25,000 in funding was awarded)

22. ELA Conf kicked off in Pennsylvania to create an inspiring and supportive community for women to be leaders, speakers, and teachers in tech

23. Alter Conf, the traveling conference series, provided safe and supportive events for marginalized people in the tech and gaming industries

24. Google for Entrepreneurs hosted Demo Day: Women’s Edition in San Francisco (Was a joy to be able to mentor two of these great companies)

25. Web Summit announced they’ll bring 10,000 women entrepreneurs to their Lisbon event in 2016

26. The Women’s Freedom Conference utilized technology to amplify the voices of disenfranchised women globally


27. Dream, Girl — telling the stories of women entrepreneurs (out in 2016)

28. Code: Debugging the Gender Gap — host a screening for your community

29. Go Against The Flow — about successful entrepreneurs in the US and UK

Community Successes

Girl Develop It30. Femgineer — launched “A Techies Guide to Public Speaking” in 2015

31. Women Who Code — reached 50,000 members! (peep their year-in-review)

32. Girl Develop It — now in 52 U.S. cities!

33. Hackbright Academy — graduated 300 women engineers!

34. Trans*H4CK — received an $85,000 grant from Marc Andreessen and his wife

35. Girl Geek Dinners — continues their success in creating community at partnering companies

36. Women Catalysts — launched inclusive networking events and workshops

37. /dev/color — launched to ensure Black engineers start, stay and lead in the industry

38. Code2040 — received $775,00o from Google and $1.2M from the Knight Foundation to create access, awareness, and opportunities for top Black and Latino engineers

39. Technically Speaking — provided curated opportunities for women to speak at tech conferences

40. Grace Hopper Academy — launched to provide accessible tech education for women

41. Telegraph Academy — launched as a software engineering bootcamp for people of color

42. The Ola Initiative — launched to provide support and advocate for Latina, Indigenous, and Black women in technology

43. TechWomen — provided women in STEM from Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East with access and opportunities

44. Systers — a robust network of communities launched Native American Women in Computing as well as Vietnamese Women in Computing

45. Google Developer Groups — over 200 Women Techmakers Leads engaging women locally to learn and develop with Google

46. MotherCoders — was a finalist for Google’s Impact Challenge Bay Area, winning $100,000

Growing the Narrative

Tray Chou Wired47. Remember when Megan Smith and Tracy Chou were featured on the cover of Wired?

48. And when Jessica Ma commanded Inc. Magazine’s cover?

49. The world stood behind Isis Anchelle who spurred the viral movement “#ILookLikeAnEngineer

50. Women of Silicon Valley increased the visibility of women in tech

51. #WOCinTechChat — developed an invaluable free resource showcasing women of color in tech

52. Journalists are helping to tell the stories and shine the spotlight on diversity and inclusion at tech (not just women). Make sure to read the work of Jessica Guynn and Megan Rose Dickey.

Award Winners

53. Systers Pass It On — winners hailed from Germany, India, Nigeria, Uganda, and the US

54. ABIE Women of Vision — congrats to all the women who received this prestigious award!

There are 100’s of approaches to support diversity and inclusion of underrepresented people in technology — from creating an employee resource group, to equalizing pay across a company, to switching careers and attending a coding bootcamp, or hugging someone and telling them they aren’t alone, we’re all in this together and each action we take matters.

I challenge you to make one of your New Year’s resolutions about supporting underrepresented people in technology. What can you do to make positive change for those around you? What if those that were treated last were treated first? We all have power to make our industry more diverse and inclusive — not just for women — but for all people. I encourage you to listen to stories, be empathetic, and take action.

Photo via Flickr via #WOCinTech Chat.

About the guest blogger: Natalie Villalobos is Google’s Women in Technology Advocate charged with developing and executing global, scalable programs that benefit women in technology under the brand Women Techmakers. Follow her on Twitter at @nataliaenvy.