Challenging Technical Privilege: How Race and Gender Matter

October 3 @12pm. MIT




Silent Technical Privilege occurs when those who "look the part," or conform to society's stereotype of what a tech-savvy, number-crunching programmer or engineer looks like, receive the benefit of the doubt or implicit endorsement in technical settings. The flipside of Silent Technical Privilege is Stereotype Threat, and other hidden obstacles that those who do not fit the profile often experience in pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education or technical careers. Women, particularly women of color, have been largely marginalized and underrepresented in STEM. On October 3, we will convene a symposium of researchers, industry representatives, students, and other nationally-recognized experts to discuss how Technical Privilege, Stereotype Threat and other forms of Implicit Bias contribute to this underrepresentation. This interactive symposium will ask how Technical Privilege, Stereotype Threat and other forms of Implicit Bias contribute to this underrepresentation. We aim to highlight, elaborate, and develop strategies to address these issues. 

Building on the insights of current research and community-based organizations, we seek to uncover the overt and covert means by which this exclusion occurs and strategize with industry and others about making real inroads towards dismantling the structural impediments to creating a more diverse pool of tech-savvy youth and professionals. The goal of the workshop is for students, faculty, and others to understand the impact of Implicit Bias, and to collectively strategize with industry representatives and social entrepreneurs on the necessary steps to overcome it. We hope attendees will walk away with practical strategies for combating Technical Privilege and Stereotype Threat and building a truly inclusive and meritocratic tech community.

The panel and open discussion session will be followed by a networking reception.

Join the conversation at #techprivMIT.

12pm-2pm - Symposium
2pm-3pm - Networking Event

Jane Stout, Director, Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP), Computing Research Association
Gabriela A. Gonzalez, Senior STEM Strategist, Intel Corporate Affairs
Jean Yang, MIT PhD student, EECS/CSAIL 
Tami Forrester, MIT Course 6, Class of 2015
Donna Milgram, Executive Director, National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science (IWITTS)

Prof. Edmund Bertschinger, Professor of Physics and Institute Community and Equity Officer (ICEO), MIT

Co-sponsored by the MIT Women's and Gender Studies Program (WGS), the Institute Community and Equity Office (ICEO), the Office of Minority Education (OME), the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL