International Women’s Day Helps to Launch Initiatives
Programs aim to support women and girls in STEM
March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a day celebrating women’s achievements and gender equality. One industry where that would be welcome: technology.
Women make up just 30 percent of the workforce in Silicon Valley, according to the Kapor Center, a nonprofit that supports women and people of color in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. As a result of the lack of representation or perhaps because of it, women contend with major biases.
Girls also face obstacles in pursuing STEM education. More than a quarter of middle school girls and a fifth of high school girls say they’re too embarrassed to ask questions in class, according to a study by Microsoft and KRC Research. In addition, 32 percent of middle school and 35 percent of high school girls say they don’t feel supported by their teachers and classmates.
Organizations and companies across the country are working to change that. And on International Women’s Day, some are launching initiatives to further that goal:
Walmart and Girls Who Code
Walmart said it’s giving $3 million to Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that aims to increase the number of women in computer science and close the gender gap in tech. The donation will go toward expanding Girls Who Code clubs throughout the country, adding to the 6,000 clubs already in place.
The retail giant will also be a founding sponsor of College Loops, a program that Girls Who Code created to stay connected with college-aged program alumni to help keep them in computer science.
Hack and Techbridge Girls
Hack, a computer that encourages kids to code through gaming, teamed up with nonprofit Techbridge Girls for a STEM education event Thursday, ahead of International Women’s Day. The event included beta testing of new coding games and mentoring with Hack staff. Techbridge Girls offers STEM programming to girls in low-income communities.