The topic of the dirth of women in technology has been written about ad nauseum for the past few years. But that’s a good thing, as bringing the issue to the forefront is finally leading to a good deal of action. And actions, as we all know, speaks louder than words.
I came across an article on TechCrunch today, entitled “Twitter bets on Girls Who Code,” that literally made my day (and it’s Labor Day so that means a lot!) Huge props to Reshma Saujani, who founded the New York-based initiative to help teach girls ages 13-17 how to code so that they can pursue careers in technology and engineering. The most exciting part is the number of businesses, including Google, GE and eBay, that are helping to support Girls Who Code. The big boys are finally stepping up to the plate after acknowledging that women programmers are few and far between, and realizing that they can have an extremely positive impact on their predominantly testosterone tech teams. Women bring a different perspective and style to the table, and often approach problem analysis, solution discovery, and general communication in ways different than men. Many studies have proven that teams with a mix of both sexes are often more successful than teams dominated by one sex or the other. Gender diversity, not just ethnic diversity, is important. Period.
Kudos to Twitter for recognizing this. Twitter is one of GWC’s biggest supporters, having provided both volunteers and financial support to the organization.
Below are some important stats pulled for the Girls Who Code website:
Today, just 3.6% of Fortune 500 companies are led by women, and less than 10% of venture capital-backed companies have female founders. Yet females use the internet 17% more than their male counterparts and represent the fastest growing demographic online and on mobile, creating more than two-thirds of content on social networking sites. Technology companies with more women on their management teams have a 34% higher return on investment.
The numbers speak for themselves. By 2018, there will be 1.4 million computer science-related job openings, yet U.S. universities are expected to produce enough computer science graduates to fill just 29% of these jobs. And while 57% of bachelor’s degrees are obtained by women, less than 14% of computer science degrees are awarded to women.
Accolades to Girls Who Code for taking action and targeting young women. I believe making changes at the youth level is key to making progress overall. I certainly hope to see this organization grow its presence on not just a national scale, but a global one.
This is an exciting time for Women in Tech and Female Founders. A time where individuals, organizations and businesses are in action mode so that we can start to see the percentages above steadily increase. Stay tuned for my next post, as I will be creating a list of more folks that are making a significant impact.