By Chris Tribbey
With a nationwide shortage of qualified tech employees expected in the U.S. over the next few years, industry leaders are paying increased attention to attracting more women into the field of IT.
The gender gap in tech jobs and how it is impacting one of our nation’s most prominent international industries – Hollywood – will be the subject of a special featured afternoon session during the Fifth Annual Hollywood IT Society (HITS) Summit, which will be held May 14th at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.
Already more than 400 CIOs, CTOs, studio tech executives and their service provider partners are registered to come together to tackle this issue along with technology developments around cyber security, the cloud, metadata and disruptive technologies.
During the afternoon of the Summit, the Women in Technology: Hollywood (WiTH) group will host a special event, centered around the new documentary “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap”.
The film will also be part of an invitation-only screening later that evening, presented by WiTH and sponsored by Microsoft, at 7 p.m. in the Los Angeles Ballroom after the HITS Summit. WiTH will also be an official sponsor of the 2015 HITS Summit networking reception at 5:30 p.m.
IT jobs are growing three times faster than the rate colleges are producing computer science graduates, and by 2020 there will be a million unfilled software engineering jobs in America, the documentary reveals. Nonetheless, statistically, young women and minorities aren’t seeking employment opportunities in computer science.
As part of the HITS program, “CODE” director Robin Hauser Reynolds will share her goals and challenges in making a film about the gender gap issue in coding. This conversation will be followed by a panel of senior-level studio executives and community leaders who will explain what leading studios are doing to change (and even disrupt) the corporate IT status quo.
Confirmed panelists include Reynolds, Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, Alex Grimwade, SVP of TV production info-tech for 20th Century Fox Television and Seng So, Los Angeles Program Manager, Girls Who Code.
“I set out to debug the reasons behind the gender gap and digital divide,” Reynolds said in a statement. “Mindsets, stereotypes, clogs in the educational pipeline, startup culture, lack of role models and sexism all play important roles in this mounting gender, ethnicity and economic issue.”
Before this featured program section are a host of senior-level HITS discussions involving Hollywood IT executives, deliberating the latest developments in enterprise software application, creative workflows, multi-platform monetization engines, automated business processes and real-time supply chains. Later that afternoon, HITS will again host its innovation and technology showcases, featuring more than a dozen service providers offering first looks at new technologies.