He works to make German tech more inclusive

The grassroots-led initiative, called FrauenLoop (“women’s loop,” referring to the idea that women are no longer in the loop in the tech world), has been growing steadily since its founding in 2016. Stefflbauer serves as CEO of the organization and has developed relationships with various companies, including GitHub, EcoVadis, and Taxfix, which donate funds and host workshops. FrauenLoop currently has a core team of around 30 instructors, and each year around 150 female participants take courses in areas such as full-stack web development, data science, and software test automation. The organization also offers job search support—and advice on navigating and thriving in what Stefflbauer calls a “non-utopian” tech work environment.

Women from nearly 40 nationalities participated in the program. Stefflbauer cited examples of participants who went on to find well-paying jobs in the industry, including seven former trainees who joined SAP. On average, she said, of the 50 women each year who complete the organization’s extended 12-month program, 10 to 15 are accepted into full-time roles. “Tracking the girls after training is important to me,” she said.

FrauenLoop’s numbers may seem small compared to the scale of Berlin’s technological diversity challenges. But Sarah Chander, a senior policy adviser at the Brussels-based group European Digital Rights, says the organization is doing important work. “FrauenLoop is one of the few technology inclusion initiatives that centers racialized and marginalized women,” she said. “This is important in a world where tech companies systematically exclude and even harm women of color.” Chander said he expects FrauenLoop’s influence to expand even more widely in Europe.

Stefflbauer works for the German Startups Association and is working on a book featuring first-person accounts of Black women in prominent positions in international technology industries. This is all part of his broader goal of driving change. “As important and globally impactful as the sector is,” he said, “it should be a place for all of us to see ourselves reflected, accepted, and our dreams fulfilled.”

Gouri Sharma is a freelance journalist and writer based in Berlin.

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