By Chris Tribbey
The documentary film “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap” has already been screened at government agencies (including the White House and Congress) and Fortune 500 companies (including Microsoft and Intel). On Friday it’s UCLA’s turn. From noon-3 p.m. Feb. 5, the university’s Luskin Center, Center for the Study of Women, Office of Information Technology as well as UCLA’s Department of Film, Television & Digital Media, will partner with L.A. talent firm Creative Artists Agency to host a free screening of “CODE” at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater.
First debuting at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, “CODE” tackles an ongoing problem in the technology industry: less than 20% of all IT jobs are being handled by women and minorities. Tech jobs are growing faster than the rate of computer science graduates, and by 2020, as many as a million software engineering jobs will be vacant in the U.S. The film examines how women and minorities have been left behind in a profession dominated by white males, to everyone’s detriment.
After the screening, the producers of the film will hold a panel discussion and Q&A with the audience, moderated by Nadya Ichinomiya, director of IT, TV marketing and research for Sony Pictures Entertainment.
“We need more role models, more women and people of color, and we need to change stereotypes,” director Robin Hauser Reynolds said last year at the Hollywood IT Summit. “Adding women to your IT department leverages the full talent pool. [But] women are self-selecting themselves out of the industry, and this is serious, as the U.S. falls way behind.”
UCLA’s screening of “CODE” marks the latest win for the filmmakers, who’ve relied on a word-of-mouth grassroots campaign to get their films in front of audiences. They hope to wrap up to wrap up their community screenings this spring, before releasing “CODE” on digital and disc later in 2016.