When it comes to women in STEM fields, historically they’ve been sorely underrepresented and very outnumbered. While today those numbers are better, the scores of men who receive higher education and enter careers engineering, physical and computer sciences, and mathematics still outnumber the women by far. Ethnic minorities account for even fewer of these women.
However, several nonprofits are gaining traction in their attempts to even out the playing field. Here are some of the organizations looking to change those statistics, and encourage women to learn how to code and make careers out of their newfound skills in one of the fastest-growing industries in the job market.
Reshma Saujani founded Girls Who Code in 2013 to provide girls with the computing skills they need to succeed in the technology industry. Across the nation, Girls Who Code encourages young women to use technology solve problems and make a positive impact on the world. Saujani has made it her personal mission to close the gender gap in technology.
Girls Who Code primarily operates as an after-school club for girls in 6th through 12th-grade where they learn to code in a friendly, laidback, encouraging environment. As of 2017, there are officially chapters in all fifty states. Girls Who Code also offers a campus program, which is a two-week program for 6th-12th-grade girls where they have the opportunity to learn about a range of specialized topics. They also offer a summer immersion program for 11th and 12th grade girls to learn coding and get exposure to tech jobs. These sessions last for seven weeks.
Eight years ago, Vanessa Hurst and Sara Chipps first founded Girl Develop It. They are a nonprofit dedicated to providing affordable programs for adult women who are interested in learning web and software development, and they hope that these skills allow women to improve their careers and gain confidence in all aspects of their lives.
Girl Develop It has chapters in fifty-seven cities all over the United States, and each chapter offers different classes or meet-up opportunities to learn about a range of topics that vary from city to city. While these classes and events are geared towards professional women eighteen and older, anyone is welcome to participate, and all workshop slides are available to view on their website.
Ada Developers Academy, named after Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, is working to diversify the tech industry by supplying women and gender diverse people with the opportunity to learn how to develop software.
Their program consists of free classroom training that teaches students to write code and develop software in a supportive and inclusive environment. Once the classroom lessons are completed, students move onto paid, learning internships to further their skills. Ada Developers Academy is located only in Seattle, Washington, the program directors hope to truly fulfill a need in that area for a diverse workforce and empower underrepresented groups with their classes.
To read about the some of the other programs working to encourage girls and young women to break into the technology field on She Knows, check out the article here!