Nowadays LGBT women are advancing in the tech world, but they need help finding support in such a male-dominated field, so that’s why Lesbians Who Tech was created.

Social thoughts about being gay are changing with legal same-sex marriage in 37 states of the USA. Although, there are still some hurdles: gay women face all the challenges of being a woman in tech with the additional challenges of being lesbian in tech. As a matter of fact, women in tech earn 13% less than men, according to Hired.com, a recruiting start-up. The financial issue is really important, but the biggest challenges are still very personal: it is still difficult to find people who understand. So Leanne Pittsford and her organization Lesbian Who Tech is here to change these things.

This community is just one of many of that kind – they try to help LGBT women connect with each other, start their own businesses and access a growing network of LGBT mentors and investors. In fact, it’s a serious need, as it is a known fact that women in tech earn significantly less than men and are less satisfied with their jobs, according to a Glassdoor study: it has shown that at only four of the 25 tech companies women are more satisfied with their jobs and their company. Lesbians are women first, and it is an interesting fact that right now women are some of the most gifted folks in technology, yet there are far fewer of them than there should be (women account for 1 in 15 people in STEM fields). So because of a lack of a number of women in tech, they are rarely quoted as experts by the mainstream media and blogs, on panels, etc. And don’t forget to add the element of being lesbian – it is one more thing that can become a boundary for some people to hire a female person. So it’s clearly to see that it is really important to represent all the women in tech and lesbians in particular.

All the lesbians know that feeling of meeting someone in a work setting, knowing she’s a lesbian, and trying to work it into a conversation and make that connection. Leanne Pittsford is about making that happen: connecting lesbians and building a network of colleagues, associates, and friends in the industry. Leanne Pittsford is an entrepreneur, investor and thought leader at the intersection of technology and diversity and one day she decided to create Lesbians Who Tech – a global community that now has involved over 20,000 queer women and allies in tech with 20 chapters from Berlin to Vermont. Before the creation of Lesbians Who Tech, Leanne founded and led Start Somewhere, a design and technology agency focused on helping social good organizations. During her work at Start Somewhere she launched some innovative initiatives such as Social Good Tech Week and Lean Impact, helping social good organizations use Lean Startup principles.

Now Leanne works really hard to help women around the world to find out that they are not alone. If you would go to a tech conference you will see that only 10 attendees out of 1,000 will be women, but maybe only one of those 10 women will be a lesbian. So there is a joke that if you see a lesbian in tech you want to hug her because you aren’t alone anymore. The organization’s aim is to create a great and powerful community. Moreover, it is important to increase visibility as LGBT women need more examples of lesbian leaders such as Ellen, Rosie, Melissa, and others, that means they need to come out as the amazing, successful people they are. In addition, it is needed to improve the representation of women and lesbians in technology as sexism in the tech industry exists, and it makes no sense and must be destroyed.

Although, it is not a strong necessity to be a lesbian to join this organization as they work to promote the visibility and inclusion of women, LGBTQ people, and people from other backgrounds under-represented in technology. So if a person wants to move this mission forward, Lesbians Who Tech will be happy to have a new member. “Nobody ‘has to be’ a lesbian to be in this community. We use the term to honor those who crossed a firewall with it”. There are so many groups who are fighting for women’s rights, and especially lesbians’ rights, they need a support of such organizations as Lesbians Who Tech, which provides a platform to raise awareness of their work and connect these organizations to queer women in the tech community.

All the people who are involved in Lesbians Who Tech are women, men, and gender identities beyond, coming together around a powerful wellspring of diversity and innovation – they can change the world for all who need some support and inspirational leaders.

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