Meet The Woman Making German Tech More Inclusive
Like many tech hubs worldwide, Germany has experienced challenges around diversity, especially within the tech space.
Nakeema Stefflbauer is working to make the German tech scene more diverse and inclusive through her latest initiative, FrauenLoop. Through the program, the native New Yorker has spent the past couple of years in Berlin, helping women upscale their skills in tech.
Stefflbauer opened up about her journey from New York to Berlin and the many challenges that led her to launch her initiative. The founder, who held many tech positions before her life in Berlin, is working to eliminate the lack of diversity in the tech space.
After moving to Germany, Stefflbauer was taken aback by the lack of diversity within the sector which she describes as “backward and barely up to speed with modern technology.”
“The people leading the effort didn’t care about the gender imbalance in tech or their program, so long as they had refugees to stand in the front of their photos,” Stefflbauer said.
“Companies are talking about diversity, competitive, and innovation, but how and what are they innovating when everybody looks and talks the same?”
The entrepreneur quickly grew irritated by what she had observed and decided to take matters into her own hands. Stefflbauer visited refugee hostels nationwide to find women keen to learn tech skills.
After rounding a cohort of women, she formed a nongovernmental organization to train underrepresented women looking to break into tech.
“FrauenLoop has been one of the few tech inclusion initiative centering racialized and marginalized women,” said Sarah Chander, senior policy advisor at European Digital Rights.
“This has been vital in a world in which tech companies have systematically excluded and harmed women of color.”
Since its launch, women from nearly 40 countries have enrolled in the program. According to Stefflbaur, many have found well-paid jobs within the industry.
On average, out of 50 women who choose to complete the 12-month program, 10-15 are offered full-time roles in the tech space each year.