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The 26%: Detroit Water Project Co-Founder on the Challenges Black Women Face in Tech (Video)

What if you're the only woman in the room -- and the only person of color, too?

Vjeran Pavic / Re/code

Women make up only an estimated 26 percent of the U.S. tech workforce, but if you apply the additional filter of race, that figure can fall from underrepresented territory to barely detectable.

At tech giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Intel, the portion of women workers who identify as black or African American is just 1 percent, according to recent Equal Employment Opportunity reports filed with the U.S. Department of Labor. The percentage of Hispanic women is roughly the same.

And that’s just the rank and file. When it comes to executive leadership in major tech companies, those numbers often drop to zero.

To date, Re/code’s series, “The 26%: Women Speak Out on Tech’s Diversity Crisis,” has explored the many challenges workers may face when they’re often the only women in the room. But what if they’re the only person of color as well?

Tiffani Ashley Bell has experienced this first hand during a 10-year career in tech. The former Code for America fellow is now the co-founder and executive director of the Detroit Water Project, an online service that matches donors with households at risk of having their water shut off. As of May, the project helped raise more than $180,000 for some 900 families.

For the fourth episode of “The 26%,” we invited Bell to meet with Nma Mbeledogu, a member of The National Society of Black Engineers who recently began her freshman year at Scripps College.

During the conversation at The Interval at Long Now in San Francisco, they discussed what it’s like to be a black woman in tech, how the industry can be more supportive and what female minorities can do to improve their own odds of success in a field dominated by white men. You can watch the discussion in the video above.

Read all the stories in “The 26%” series:

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