Global nonprofit AnitaB.org, is celebrating the 5-year anniversary of the Building, Recruiting, and Inclusion for Diversity (BRAID) Initiative. The impact of this program continues to expand, seeding culture change and organizational transformation at the computer science departmental level, improving the student pipeline and exposing academic institutions to best practices for engaging underrepresented students in computing.
“BRAID is one of our Project 365 programs transforming intersectional gender diversity within computer science,” said Brenda Darden Wilkerson, President and CEO of AnitaB.org. “We are grateful to our participating institutions, the UCLA BRAID research team, Harvey Mudd College, and our funders. Together, we are connecting, inspiring, and guiding women in computing and organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative. We can and must have 50/50 intersectional gender parity in tech by 2025.”
For the last five years, BRAID has been co-led with Maria Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd College, and conducted in partnership with 15 universities across the nation. The initiative provides support to computer science (CS) departments to help increase the percentage of women and underrepresented minority students in their undergraduate computing programs. Participants implement successful strategies enacted at BRAID Beacon Schools — institutions leading the way in gender diversity within their CS departments.
The one of a kind longitudinal study, led by UCLA’s Dr. Linda Sax, involves collecting data from students, faculty, staff, department chairs, and administrators in order to answer a variety of research questions related to attracting and retaining women and students of color in computing majors. The UCLA research team’s analysis of computing enrollment trends at BRAID institutions reveals:
- 108% increase in women’s computing enrollment, with all 15 schools reporting that women’s enrollment is outpacing their overall computing enrollment growth.
- 77.4% increase in computing enrollment of underrepresented minorities, with two-thirds of institutions reporting that underrepresented minority enrollment is outpacing their overall computing enrollment growth.
BRAID department chairs have reported significant progress to AnitaB.org in implementing programmatic interventions—BRAID commitments—including:
- 87% of schools modified the introductory computer science course to make it more appealing to students with limited prior experience
- 100% of BRAID schools have student groups for women in computing
- 71% of BRAID schools sponsored summer camps or afterschool programs in K-12 for underrepresented groups
- 86% of BRAID schools have developed joint majors or interdisciplinary courses to attract underrepresented students
BRAID convened department chairs from participating institutions to celebrate the 5th Anniversary BRAID Summit July 11-13, 2019, where they shared information about the progress and challenges encountered by each department in fulfilling the four BRAID commitments and strategies that departments can employ going forward.
BRAID would not be possible without the commitment of its sponsors including Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and IBM. The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT) are nonprofit partners collaborating on the BRAID initiative
AnitaB.org is a nonprofit social enterprise committed to promoting women technologists in the global workforce through representation, pay parity, retention, venture funding, and women’s empowerment with a goal of reaching 50/50 intersectional gender parity in tech by 2025. AnitaB.org engages with tens of thousands of women and leading organizations around the world to build diverse and inclusive workplace cultures. Founded in 1997 by our namesake, computer science visionary Anita Borg, our organization works toward a future where the teams that create technology mirror the people and societies for whom they build it.