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New group hopes to elevate Omaha women in tech

Posted at 5:33 PM, Dec 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-26 18:36:06-05

A new organization will be spending the new year working to make Omaha the best place for women working in technology careers.

The mission of Project 18 stems from a 2017 smartasset study, which ranked Omaha as the No. 18 best city for women in tech, tied with San Francisco. Washington D.C., Kansas City and Baltimore took the top three spots.

Brandi Bothe runs social media for Project 18.

"Women in tech are often underpaid, they're less likely to be fast-tracked than their male counterparts, and they're less likely to be able to advance in the workplace," Bothe said.

Her thoughts are echoed across the tech sector in Omaha.

Sandi Barr and Naomi See decided to organize a workshop focused on helping women learn about coding and familiarizing them with new technologies.

The pair have worked in tech for years and - like Project 18 - say they want to see more women thriving in the space.

"We're frequently doubted," Barr said. "So having the support among other women and having those relationships and that backing helps us stand up for ourselves. As a developer for a number of years, I didn't have the opportunity to have a lot of relationships with other women that were developers. And, as I was trying to seek them out, I felt there needed to be more community oriented meetings, events spaces for women to find those relationships."

Besides encouraging women through the ranks, Project 18 is also looking to give Omaha a competitive advantage.

With an unemployment rate of 2.3 percent and tech companies like Toast moving into the area, Bothe says the work of Project 18 could help bring and keep workers in the city.

"We're just a group of doers who are looking to make Omaha the most women-friendly tech community in the nation," Bothe said.

Project 18 is holding a public meeting on Jan. 4 at Do Sapce.