While introducing her documentary to guests and students in Sibley Auditorium, Robin Hauser Reynolds tells the audience how humbled she is by the response it has caused. Since the documentary’s debut a year ago at the Tribeca Film Festival, CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, has been screened in 16 countries, The White House, Google, Auto Trader UK, and luckily for UC Berkeley students enrolled in the A. Richard Newton Lecture Series, had its 50th screening last night. Before the screening started, the UC Berkeley alum stated that “…the truth is the most impactful way to invoke change”.
CODE exposes the dearth of American female and minority software engineers and explores the reasons for this gender gap. The documentary also raises the question: what would society gain from having more women and minorities code?
Following the screening, Robin was joined by Cedric Brown,Chief of Community Engagement at the Kapor Center, Yahoo! Lead Search Engineer, Mai Le and Lead Software Engineer at Capital One, Michele Titolo. During the panel discussion, one of the main topics discussed was micro aggression for female software engineers. From this, Mai and Michele described how it felt to sometimes be the only woman in the room. “I’ve always had to work extra hard against my peers” Mai stated in order to be taken seriously by her male counterparts. From this, Robin reassured the audience that the film and panel discussion “…is not pointing the finger at men, it’s about collaboration and working together”. Robin also stated that the best time for a new startup company to bring in more diversity is in the beginning in order to help invoke a more diverse way of thinking and problem solving from day one.
The biggest takeaway from the discussion was from Michele who simply stated that “until we start changing people, the people won’t change”. To see a complete list of resources dedicated to coding workshops, organizations devoted to teaching others to code or how you can help invoke change, visit shescoding.org