ChickTech: About Us

ChickTech is a national nonprofit organization empowering people of marginalized genders through tech programs and events.

ChickTech was founded in 2012 to engage women and non-binary people of all ages in the technology industry while working to create a better technology culture for all. ChickTech has made a direct impact on tens of thousands of participants, bringing community and support to people of all genders. Our programs include ChickTech: High School, ACT-W (Advancing the Careers of Technical Women) Conferences, and ACT-W+ – an online membership community for technologists of all genders. And wherever possible, we partner with companies and community organizations to expand our impact.

ChickTech Career Event.

Portland 2015 High School Kickoff. Photo by Wojtek Rajski.

Portland 2015 High School Kickoff. Photo by Wojtek Rajski.

ACT-W Conference.

High School Kickoff Event.

Austin 2016 High School Kickoff.

Our Vision and Mission

We envision a safe, inclusive, and innovative technology future that includes equal pay, participation, and treatment of women. We are dedicated to retaining women in the technology workforce and increasing the number of women and girls pursuing technology-based careers.

We facilitate hands-on technology-centric events and programs to empower, support, and increase the confidence of women and girls. Through our events, we build community, empower participants to see themselves as leaders, and provide networking and mentoring opportunities in the rapidly growing high tech industry.

The ChickTech Difference

ChickTech works to improve both the pipeline (K-12) and retention of women and non-binary people in tech. This means that volunteers aren’t just giving their time and energy to our K-12 program but are also getting what they need to stay in the tech industry.

ChickTech: High School, one of our signature programs, is targeted towards girls and non-binary youth who don’t think of themselves as technical but who have the aptitude to do well in it. The high school program is also a yearlong series of opportunities, which builds a sense of community and belonging while allowing our students to connect with many informal mentors throughout the year.

We find the students who aren’t opting into other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs and we change their idea of who they can be and who a technologist is. Most of our high school students have never coded or created a tech project before… but 2/3 of them go on to other tech opportunities after they’re part of ChickTech!

People of all genders are welcome to volunteer with any of our programs and attend all ACT-W (Advancing the Careers of Technical Women) events for adults. Our youth programs are open to any student who identifies as female or non-binary (including genderqueer/two-spirit/third gender youth).

We believe all people—regardless of how technical they are—are valuable members of the tech community. If you’re in marketing, HR, legal, management, etc, we want you to be part of our community as both volunteers and attendees!

We are an open organization, which means we make as few top-down decisions as we can! All people, whether paid or not, are viewed as community members who should have a say in how our community runs.

Interested in learning more about our culture? We created a community-led ChickTech manifestoCheck it out and see if this is the community you’ve been looking for!

Why Chick?

Sometimes we get the question “Why did you choose to use the word ‘chick’? Like many in this generation, we are reclaiming the word “chick”. As women, we have the right to call ourselves by whatever label we want–whether that’s “girls”, “women”, “female”,…or “chick”. We’ve seen many instances of people taking back words that are used when women are demonstrating more traditionally masculine words, which we love and support. However, we’ve found that when women choose to reclaim and use a word (or color) that is more feminine, this continues to be viewed negatively by our society.

At ChickTech, we believe that as a woman, you can be whoever you want to be…including a feminine woman…and still be technical. We feel that when women and girls do not have the power to call themselves what they want, they are being disempowered and forced to fit stereotypes of who can be taken seriously and who can’t.

We will continue to take back the word “chick” by empowering and supporting powerful, confident, and creative women and girls!

Why Pink?

Another question that we are often asked is around the color pink. We are often told that girls don’t have to like pink, which we absolutely agree on! However, we feel it’s also okay when girls *do* like pink. In our society, things that are traditionally feminine have often been viewed as “less than”–whether that’s enjoying makeup and dressing up, playing with dolls, or choosing a “helping” profession such as nursing.

ChickTech stands up for the rights of all people to choose who they will be, what they like, and how they represent themselves. And although we are sure not everyone who joins ChickTech will like pink, we hope that they agree with that statement!

PSU 2016 High School Kickoff. Photo by Wojtek Rajski.