Our Response to the PSU Event Featuring James Damore


Portland Women in Technology exists to encourage women to join tech and support and empower women so they stay in tech. Given this mission, we feel strongly that we must speak out when women and other underrepresented groups in our community feel marginalized in spaces where they have a right to feel safe.

When Portland State University (PSU) announced James Damore was speaking on the PSU campus, we received an outpouring of concern from our community, including students of PSU. Damore is the ex-Google engineer who published an internal manifesto meant to challenge Google’s perceived reverse discrimination. This document included views of women having “biological differences” making them unqualified for roles in engineering.

We believe and respect that James Damore is entitled to speak freely on his opinions, even if they are in direct conflict of our mission. However, we are disheartened and appalled that Freethinkers PSU, a student body group whose mission is to promote open inquiry through critical thinking and rational discussion, is engaging in discourse without an opposing viewpoint. The conversation between Damore and Professor Boghossian, ostensibly about diversity, approaches the territory of creating an unwelcoming and unsafe atmosphere at PSU for women working in and studying STEM fields.

As such, Portland Women in Technology would like to extend an open invitation to anyone who feels unsafe or marginalized, as a result of the event, to our community. We host a number of events monthly, have a mentorship program and inclusive online communities through Facebook and Slack.

Expanding Community Through Contribution, Donation: PDXWIT Submits Award Winner Donations to Girls Inc. Eureka! and Rose Haven


Portland Women in Technology (PDXWIT) exists to give women a forum in which they can connect, learn and grow. The power of community is profound, and we are always looking for ways to expand and extend that power to other organizations around the city.

That’s why the winners of the first-ever PDXWIT Annual Awards Program were asked to choose an organization to which we’d donate funds in their name.

The Awards Program consisted of a process of community nominations and panel selections, and in the case of the Best Speaker award, a lightning talk runoff at the Women + Tech Holiday Party. As a result, we were thrilled to name Katharine Nester as Best Contributor and Tanya Crenshaw as Best Speaker. We asked Katharine and Tanya to each select a local nonprofit serving women and girls, to receive $2,000 from the PDXWIT Community fund. Katharine's choice was the Girls Inc., Eureka! program and Tanya's choice was Rose Haven.

"I'm honored to translate my contributions to PDXWIT into support for another organization focused on empowering girls and women in tech," said Katharine Nester. "The Girls Inc. Eureka! Program is an actionable initiative, making real progress for diversity in the pipeline of talent for our industry. I hope this heartfelt donation continues to fuel that progress."

Katherine continues, “Growing up, I was fortunate to have a father in computer science who supported and encouraged my own interest in the subject. I never doubted a career in technology was an option for me because of his support and guidance. Not every girl has a parent in the technology field, or a support system that encourages them to pursue their dreams, so it’s really important to me to find and support programs like Eureka! from Girls Inc. of Pacific Northwest.” 

"I am honored to be recognized for my PDXWIT contributions, but I'm even more grateful that PDXWIT is making a donation to Rose Haven," said Tanya L. Crenshaw. "It is important to me that every one of us commit to doing something each day to scrape a little crud off of our part of the world.  PDXWIT is a grand example of this commitment."

Rose Haven is a day shelter serving women and children that are without home, are being abused or are facing other trauma. Rose Haven provides meals, showers and necessities to these women while also advocating for them.

The goal of our awards program is to feature one individual for the contributions to our community and one individual for their speaking abilities. It’s our honor to also share these generous contributions of time and talent in the form of monetary donations to like-minded organizations.


Call for Submissions


Our vision for the PDXWIT blog is to develop a trusted resource of insight, education, connection, encouragement, and pragmatic solidarity for women and underrepresented groups in tech and those who actively support women in tech and the broader mission of increasing diversity in tech.  Posts can take many forms: opinions, personal stories, histories, advice, tutorials,  or educational resources,  as long as they are relevant to the women in tech community.  Contributing to the PDXWIT blog will help us strengthen a thriving community while offering the opportunity to increase your online presence, demonstrate your expertise, and provide wide-reaching mentorship.  

Who should submit?

Anyone in support of our shared mission can write posts for the PDXWIT blog. We welcome people with all levels of writing abilities. In service of our mission, we will prioritize the voices of folks who share one or more identities historically and currently underrepresented in tech.Writers do not need to disclose or simplify their identities or focus on related "issues" in their posts, but writers are welcome to do so and to discuss these topics openly.

What should I submit?

There is no specific structure required for your submission.  In general, we recommend that you submit the simplest version of your central idea that you can articulate. Focusing on the main idea first will give you the chance to refine your idea and rework your concept before you commit time to writing your post.  If your idea is complex, you may choose one subtopic to explore first or break the idea up into a series of shorter posts.

Typically, blog posts should be brief and run between 500 words and 1,000 words.  This means that they will typically feature one theme. To pinpoint your theme, consider these three questions:

1.  How do you describe the people who would be interested in this post?  

2.  What question or goal might your audience have prior to reading?

3.  What will they learn by reading your post??

Our wish list for future blog content:

If you would be willing to write a post and are searching for the right idea, we have a list of starter topics that we would love to share with the community:

  • Testimonials and practical advice from people with nontraditional backgrounds who have successfully transitioned into tech
  • Advice for recent coding bootcamp grads
  • Insights on the current state of the tech sector in PDX (and beyond!)
  • Agile principles and workplaces  
  • DevOps principles and innovations
  • Books and resources recommended by women in tech, especially those they wish they had found earlier
  • Snapshots of the specific tools women in tech use in their work
  • Intersectionality in tech

Go To Submission Form