Silicon Valley's Caste System: Race, Class, and All Women Coding Boot Camp

Event Date: 

Thursday, March 4, 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Event Date Details: 

Zoom link

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Meeting ID: 852 3554 6551
Passcode: 650800

Global Media Technologies & Cultures Lab, UC Santa Barbara
Research Lecture
Professor France Winddance Twine

Why do Black women comprise roughly 1.2% of technical workers in Silicon Valley technology firms? In this talk, Twine examines the occupational caste system in Silicon Valley.  Twine draws upon a 4-year study that included interviews and surveys with 87 technically-skilled women and men of diverse backgrounds (Black, Latinx, Asian Indian, Asian American, and White) employed at start-ups and top technology firms including Apple, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Twine found that the Black women who had earned degrees in computer science or engineering still struggled to secure full-time jobs at technology firms. In striking contrast, Twine found that 25% of the white women engineers in her study had earned their degrees in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, rather than STEM fields. Yet they secured jobs as software engineers after attending 10 or 12-week accelerated engineering academies (also called coding boot camps) while Black women with degrees in engineering and computer science and technical expertise hit social barriers to employment which Twine conceptualizes as 'glass walls'. Twine concludes by discussing the ongoing efforts by diversity officers and CEOs to blame the educational pipeline rather than anti-black racism and the inequality regimes operating in Silicon Valley. 

About the Speaker

Professor France Winddance Twine 

France Winddance Twine is a Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Barbara. Twine is a Black and Native American critical race theorist and feminist scholar who has conducted research on racial, class and gender inequality on both sides of the Atlantic, including Brazil, Ecuador, UK, and the United States. Twine of the 2020 recipient of the Distinguished Career Award from the American Sociological Association. Her recent publications include Geek Girls: race, class and gender inequality in Silicon Valley (forthcoming in 2021), Outsourcing the Womb (2015) Geographies of Privilege (Routledge, 2013), A White Side of Black Britain: interracial intimacy and racial literacy (2010, Duke U Press).



Co-sponsors: Departments of Black Studies, Feminist Studies, and Sociology, and the Center for Information Technology and Society, UC Santa Barbara

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