Being a woman in technology has its challenges. While progress has been made, the statistics are stacked against you. Women hold 59 percent of the professional jobs in the U.S., but they comprise only 18 percent of technical jobs at Google and 16 percent at Facebook. Industry-wide, women hold only 25 percent of tech jobs. Recent research commissioned from Accenture by Girls Who Code estimates that if current trends continue, the total number of women in computing will fall to 22 percent by 2025.
With the tech gender gap garnering so much attention lately, it’s nice to know that there are organizations dedicated to helping provide educational opportunities for beginners, professional development for women in tech, and information and strategies for organizations looking to improve their gender diversity. These seven organizations are helping to solve the gender gap in computing and STEM by providing women with the opportunities they need to succeed.
Girls Who Code aims to inspire and educate young women to become the world’s next generation of computer programmers. Launched in 2012, the organization offers girls in grades 6-12 a variety of programs, which feature classes on the fundamentals of coding as well as access to stellar female tech mentors.
So far, girls in 23 states across the U.S. have participated in its programs and 53,000 have graduated. By the end of 2018, founder Reshma Saujani’s goal is to almost double that to 100,000. With the organization’s incredible six-year history of success, we bet hitting that target won’t be a stretch.
National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)
While there are numerous nonprofits focused on women in computing, NCWIT is the only U.S. organization that helps women across all sectors. Whether it’s industry, K-12 and higher education, government, or entrepreneurial computing careers, NCWIT sponsors programs to close the gender gap everywhere.
Programs cover a wide range of issues, from supporting changes in K-12 computing curriculums, to celebrating female computing accomplishments with annual awards, and empowering women in IT to improve their professional visibility.
PowerToFly recognizes that many companies struggle to build diversity, especially when it comes to filling technical roles. The company was launched in 2014 as an online platform that connects Fortune 500 companies and small startups with qualified tech-savvy women. It’s like an all-female LinkedIn for techies.
Since its launch, more than 1 million profiles have been created. In addition to matchmaking, PowerToFly also advertises jobs in social media and mobile campaigns to help companies expand their applicant pool to professionals who aren’t on the platform yet.
Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology (ABI)
Named in honor of renowned computer scientist Anita Borg, ABI strives to connect women and technology. The organization has been delivering programs that help industry, academia, and government recruit, train, and develop female technology since 1994.
ABI also strives to engage with technical women globally and bring them together to learn from one another and grow professionally. To this end, it and holds an annual summit, The Grace Hopper Celebration. There, the world’s female technologists dive deep into the most up-to-date research of women working in computer science, IT, and engineering.
Girls in Tech is dedicated to the idea that in order to ensure women succeed in STEM and technology careers, they need to be encouraged early and then supported throughout their entire careers. The nonprofit’s Girls in Tech Mentorship Program (GITm) helps girls embrace math, science, and technology at a young age by providing access to strong community role models.
Professional women in STEM and computing are also supported with a range of GIT programs, including an annual conference, meetings at 60 chapters across the globe, coding bootcamp, a tech startup pitching competition, and much more.
Women in Technology International (WITI)
In 1989 WITI started as a small email group of like-minded professional women. Over the past 30 years, it has grown into an international trade organization boasting a network of more than two million tech-savvy women participating in programs and events around the globe.
In addition to inspiring, connecting, and advocating for women in computing and technology careers, WITI also works to develop leaders in STEM. The organization does not discriminate on gender either. WITI encourages men to attend events and become active members because bridging the gender divide ultimately opens more doors.
Its high profile has helped WWCode to build a membership of more than 100,000 women, and earned it sponsorship from today’s top tech companies, including Google, VMware, and Zendesk.