What is the presence of diversity in the field of technology? In this episode of Politicin’ with Taylor Moore, we talk to Cherisse Datu, an Asian-American woman who has held several positions in the world of politics, and was not afraid to express her true thoughts on the challenges of being a women of color in this field.
Interview with Cherisse Datu:
About this episode
President Donald Trump directed almost $200 million a year to technology education grants for women and minorities. This move was a decision motivated by the need to create jobs in STEM (science, education, technology and mathematics) for underrepresented communities in these fields. Issues regarding a lack of gender equality in Silicon Valley have been widespread this year amid allegations of sexism against major companies like Uber and Google.
“The identity of the gatekeepers relates to how your value is perceived based on your identity.” – Cherisse Datu
The president signed a memo instructing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to prioritize STEM through existing competitive grant programs that will encourage women and minorities to participate in coding and other computer-based careers.
The podcast episode above was initially developed after conversation with Multi-Family Risk and Controls Manager of Freddie Mac, Kelly Siu.
Siu said companies in California are more accepting of women who choose to balance work and family life.
“So if you chose to become a mom they will totally work with you and allow you to work from home,” she said.
Siu previously worked for IBM in Silicon Valley with a degree in computer information systems and then for KPMG as an IT auditor in their risk and advisory services before transitioning to Freddie Mac.
She said the companies she worked with on the East Coast were not as understandable, but more “traditional” and that on the West Coast, women of color were often seen in leadership positions with great amounts of authority.
“I mean, you look at our leadership, and for the women that we do have, they’re white,” she said. “But part of it may not be that anyone’s being racist or anything, part of that is just a cultural thing.”
This conversation led me to a more in-depth discussion in this episode with Cherisse Datu on her various experiences as a women of color in technology in D.C.
Cherisse Datu is a game designer and video producer.