Simply put, there are not enough women working in the technology sector in our country and it is hurting us. Not sure that you buy it? Here are some interesting facts to consider:
- Women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but hold just 25% of the jobs in technical or computing fields.
- Women represent 12% of all computer science graduates today. They represented 37% in 1984.
- In a room of 25 computer professionals, only 3 will be women.
- By the year 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor projects that there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings. Yet, U.S. universities are expected to produce only enough qualified graduates to fill 29% of these jobs.
By 2020 we will not be able to fill the vast majority of technology jobs available in this country, as half of our potential workforce has become systematically uninspired to pursue the education required to fill those positions.
How will the need be met? Companies will have no choice but to continue to look offshore for the answer.
But, there is hope! Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit organization that intends to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors. The organization's programs work to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.
Together with leading educators, engineers, and entrepreneurs, Girls Who Code has developed a new model for computer science education that combines concentrated instruction in robotics, web design, and mobile development with high-touch interaction and mentorship with the industry's top female engineers and entrepreneurs.
Since its inception in 2012, the organization has been able to engage many top technology firms, including Google, Twitter and Amazon, to participate and partner in furthering the cause. Immersion programs that enable students to have access to an intensive, career-focused experience within these types of technology-driven firms are already in place.
As business leaders and entrepreneurs, we need to work together to close the gender gap within the technology sector in the United States. Programs, like those offered through Girls Who Code are part of the answer. But, we need more. After all, if we fail to close the gap, it is possible that, over time, it can lead to significantly limiting our ability to continue to compete on a global scale.