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Is Hackbright a good idea?

As a female entrepreneur specialized in Full-Stack engineering, I can't help but realize how disproportioned my industry truly is amongst women & men. What are others thoughts on Hackbright? Do you believe it's a good idea to separate women in their own coding school?


5 Replies

Michael Barnathan
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Michael Barnathan Entrepreneur • Advisor
Co-Founder of The Mountaintop Program, Google Alum
Can't hurt, so why not?
Ben Hibben
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Ben Hibben Entrepreneur
Cofounder at MrBlinkyBling.com
I'm very interested in helping grow STEM related engagement in underrepresented populations and I find that creating a "safe space" where people in the group you're hoping to help can meet without facing some of the social pressures they encounter in the "traditional" spaces often results in positive outcomes.

I also like to flip the thinking a bit; it seems to me that the "traditional" spaces are already separated into their own preferred demographic, otherwise we'd see wider community engagement there. If they already have that why not make more that are suited to different demographics?
Lucy Lloyd
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Lucy Lloyd Entrepreneur
Co-Founder of Mentorloop
Hmmmm...

I was speaking to a friend recently who's a Head of Talent for a large AU org, and she termed this phenomenon "special programs for special people". The idea being that segregation doesn't foster diversity.

I applaud any attempt to redress the imbalance, but to truly foster diversity inclusiveness needs to be the mandate, rather than creating separate streams.

However that's very easy to say... I don't have another solution as quotas create their own problems, but we need to break down barriers preventing men and women working together, rather than creating more opportunities for them to work separately.
Steve Simitzis
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Steve Simitzis Advisor
Founder and CEO at Treat
I am a volunteer mentor for Hackbright, having worked with their students over four different sessions. My work involved meeting with my students weekly, supplemental teaching,guiding them through their final project, and career and hiring support. I have also hired two Hackbright grads (not any of my own students - they all got hired elsewhere).

All of the women I worked with came in with zero or close to zero programming knowledge. All got hired as developers after the program. Everything else aside, this is a win.

We can speculate all day about whether women need "safe spaces" or waxphilosophically about whether or not this is segregation.

What we do know are facts: (1) There are far more men than women writing the software we all use every day. (2) Some women - for whatever reason - thrive in an all-women environment and would not have thrived in the usual mostly-men environment. I'm not going to speculate or make generalizations about women or men. What I do know is that many women have thrived at Hackbright and become excellent software developers.

Results matter most, and Hackbright (and other programs like it) are bringing women into software engineering. I don't think we need to overthink it. It's not for everyone but it works so I support it.
Greg Sherwin
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Greg Sherwin Advisor
vp engineering + it • singularity university
By any means necessary
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