Women In Sports Tech, a nonprofit organization aimed at expanding career opportunities and enhancing pathways for women throughout the sports technology industry, has welcomed 15 new partners this year. The collaboration will cumulatively expand opportunities through fellowships, mentoring and other initiatives for women of all backgrounds and ages interested in the field, accelerating and widening work possibilities for women while helping to narrow the currently disparate work opportunities women face. There are a total of 23 WiST partners, and they include companies such as the Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator, IBM Sports, Nike, NBA/WNBA and AEG Worldwide.
The partner investments, which total nearly $1 million, are designed to diversify pathways for women and ultimately lead to more women gaining and retaining work. The program allows people to carry on their passion for sports while marrying it to their interest in STEM. It exposes participants to a number of specialties related to sports technology—an industry expected to reach $30 billion by 2024—including data science, artificial intelligence, engineering, analytics, biometrics, biomechanics and product development. Opening the doors for women, who currently make up less than 24% of those in the tech industry, will help shift the landscape and tackle the growing gender disparity, which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Research shows the gender gap has grown by 36 years in 12 months and may take over 130 years to rectify.
Founder and CEO of WiST Marilou McFarlane said a goal is to have employers change their ratio, “but it goes beyond that. What we really want to do is impact and influence culture. It doesn’t matter if you just check a box and bring in the lonely only,” she said. “We want to help employers understand the importance of diversity, and really inclusion in terms of culture.”
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