In 2014, Google made headlines with their commitment to invest 50-million-dollars into a program to help close the gender gap in tech. This initiative is called Made With Code and works to teach young girls through a website that includes coding projects and messages from successful females in the tech industry. The reason behind this was that by 2020, Google estimated that there would be 1.4 million computing jobs but only 400,000 computer science graduates from US universities to fill them.
With the number of female computer-science majors having dropped dramatically in the past 30 years (37% in 1984 to 12% in recent years), Google would have to find a way to get girls more interested in coding. Most girls report that they have decided before entering college whether or not they wanted to learn to code. So, by increasing exposure through initiatives like Made With Code, all-girl coding camps and coding classes in school, Google would build up girls’ confidence in their coding abilities.
After all, women are the lead adopters of new technologies – which gives them a competitive advantage in the tech industry. International consulting firm McKinsey reported that companies that embrace gender diversity are more likely to make more money. Adding more women to the male-dominated industry would be a win-win. Dow Jones also found that successful tech start-ups tend to have more women in senior positions than unsuccessful ones. In the face of overwhelming statistics like this, it’s almost impossible to believe that there’s a 14 to 1 ratio of male engineers to female engineers.
Back in 2014, Mindy Kaling and Chelsea Clinton hosted the kick-off for Made With Code, presumably due to the fact that easily recognizable female technology role models were a) tough to find and b) would not have had the same draw as these two. This was still in the pre-Sheryl Sandberg Lean In trending era, so there wasn’t a female face to put to the tech boom. The fact is, girls can’t see themselves joining the Silicon Valley club if there aren’t women to look up to. And it often seems as if there are no women in positions of power in the tech industry at all. However, nothing can be further from the truth. Here are four women who are changing the tech industry and the world as we know it:
Read the rest of the article in the spring 2016 issue here.