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IU CEWiT event discusses gender inequity, allyship



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Sam Kizer speaks at Center of Excellence for Women in Technology’s gender equity and allyship discussion Jan. 24 in the Indiana Memorial Union Oak Room. Kizer discussed topics such as privilege, gender inequity and various identities. Sarah Zygmuntowski Buy Photos

About 25 people gathered in the Indiana Memorial Union Oak Room to talk about privilege in the technology industry.

The Center of Excellence for Women in Technology organized a discussion Thursday about gender inequity in technological fields and being an ally to those facing discrimination.

The event was created because of gender discrimination in technology and education, coordinator Jake Taylor said. 

Taylor said the event is striving toward equity instead of equality. Equity is more focused on helping people reach the same level, while equality is focused on the same treatment for everyone.

“A lot of times, men don’t know the issues of gender inequity because they have the privilege where they don’t have to think about it,” Taylor said.

CEWiT treasurer and junior Feranmi Balogun said some of the gender inequity she’s faced happened because people see technology as a man’s job.

“It can be very daunting for women to ask questions or even to speak up if they know they’re not the majority,” Balogun said.

Balogun talked about the necessity of having allies who help her speak up and create support systems. Balogun said women mentoring and inspiring her has helped.

“It is really empowering and encouraging to have women around you,” Balogun said.

Taylor said men can be allies uplifting women’s voices and changing the workplace culture. The lack of resources in tech workplaces could explain why there are fewer women in technology.

Junior Preetesh Patodi said his experience as a resident assistant gave him a good framework for understanding gender inequity and biases, but he still learned from the event.

“Having everyone’s thoughts come together gave me a new perspective,” Patodi said.

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