I have spent more than six years working in the technology space as a user-experience researcher and designer. As an immigrant, Muslim-identifying, Iranian-Canadian woman, it didn’t take long to notice that the workplace environments I found myself in were not designed for me, and therefore did not support my career growth and ambition, or accommodate for my unique needs as a woman of color.

For years, companies have framed diversity in tech as a “pipeline” problem—that the reason for the lack of diversity is due to there not being enough qualified talent from different backgrounds. This claim is not only untrue but also dismisses the effects of racism on people’s careers.

Years of workplace anxiety and discrimination have made me realize that the tech industry’s current challenge is not hiring women of color in technology, it’s keeping us there. A 2019 study from the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) found that although the number of women in computing professions has increased since 2017, so has the number of women who leave tech companies and careers.

This should not come as a shock when we think about the systemic discrimination of our patriarchal society and the ways in which it manifests in the tech ecosystem, disproportionately affecting underrepresented women. Unwelcoming environments, stereotypes, and being overlooked for promotions are just some of the reasons women of color leave the sector. Microaggressions, unconscious bias, and lack of representation are effective in upholding and enabling racism and discrimination in the workplace, and women of color regularly endure mansplaining, interruptions, and inappropriate compensation in an industry that has not done enough to level the playing field.

Read the full article about women of color in unjust systems by Hanieh Khosroshahi at Stanford Social Innovation Review.