Why Civic Tech Needs More Minorities and Women

According to the U.S. Census there are only 10 states where males make up the majority of the population. What's more, racial minorities make up the majority in five states: Hawaii (77.2 percent minority), the District of Columbia (64.5 percent), California (60.6 percent), New Mexico (60.2 percent) and Texas (55.5 percent).

When you look at these stats, it's no wonder that companies are trying to recruit women and minorities. But the reality is that few companies tell these candidates why they're encouraged to apply.

A note to these companies: No one wants to be the token checkmark on a diversity checklist. As a minority and a woman, I personally want to know that my contributions, experiences, and ideas are as valued as those of my other colleagues. I want to know where my work is most useful.

The Case for Civic Tech

My organization is currently recruiting for its one year fellowship program and I've thought a lot about why we want minorities and women to apply. The answer is simple: No user experience is complete without us.

The population of U.S. women and minorities combined are a literal majority. Yet these two groups remain under-represented in boardrooms, governments, and the tech industry in general. For Code for America's (CfA) purposes of improving the community, this has to change. Simply put, it's completely unrealistic to assume that our governments can be inherited by the same homogenous group that came before us. We need to be at the planning tables.

So the next steps are simple. If we're going to build better cities with technology, then we need the people behind these technologies to be representative of our communities. Groups like CfA, The Kapor Center, CODE2040, Black Girls Code and Change.org are working to change the ratio, but it's minorities and women that need to take the leap as leaders.

At this very moment, urbanists, researchers, designers and developers are coding the next chapter of American history. If you want your page, then help code it. For more info check out our recent Code for the Future event below or apply for the Code for America fellowship by July 31.