That Girl Can Code!
Posted On July 24, 2017
Women have made a lot of gains in the workplace, and many of those gains have been accomplished or expanded upon by millennials.
Computing and the tech industry remain largely male-dominated fields, however.
According to National Center for Women and Information Technology, only 26 percent of computing jobs in the 2016 U.S. workforce were held by women – this despite the fact that women filled 57 percent of all professional occupations in the U.S. Widen the scope to the tech industry as a whole, and the number isn’t much better – only 30 percent, according to CNET’s Roger Cheng.
And the numbers suggest that it’s not getting any better: The percentage of female Computer and Information Sciences bachelor’s degree recipients in this county has fallen from 37 percent in 1985 to only 18 percent in 2015.
In a recent piece for techcrunch.com, however, Goodwall CEO Taha Bawa offered hope for the future in narrowing the tech gender gap. Numbers of female undergrads entering tech-based majors are growing at top universities like Cal-Berkley and Georgia Tech, Bawa noted.
Initiatives designed to promote interest in tech and STEM fields among young female students are finding traction. Code.org’s Hour of Code campaign has drawn large numbers of grade-school girls, and other organizations like Girls in Tech, Girls Who Code, Engineering Girls and Black Girls Code are driving increased interest in STEM fields by girls. The National Girls Collaborative Project is reporting that girls are taking many high-level math and science courses at similar rates to boys.
And major tech companies like Oracle and Google are investing in programs to interest girls in coding and other STEM fields. It only makes sense: If 57 percent of the nation’s workforce is women, but women hold only 26 percent of the computing jobs in the country, there’s some pretty significant untapped potential for your future workforce there.
Here in Mobile, Ala., where I live, the local public school system has specialized Signature Academies within its high schools that allow students to focus on particular fields, including tech fields like engineering and information technology. At Davidson High School, whose Signature Academy is engineering, nearly 60 percent of last year’s freshman class in the Engineering Pathways Integrated Curriculum program was female.
While the tech industry is one place millennials don’t seem to have made much of a dent in the gender gap, iGen may have a better chance to whittle away at it.