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Wanted: Girls in Technology

Technology shapes our world and it will have an even bigger impact on our future. Unfortunately, few women are delving into technology-based careers, which means women are literally missing out on an opportunity to help create the future. Luckily, individuals and organizations in the tech industry are making strides to invest in technology’s “most untapped talent pool: young girls.”

In June, Google’s senior vice president of advertising and commerce, Susan Wojcicki, wrote an open letter to girls of the world declaring, “The technology industry needs you.” In her letter, Wojcicki notes that while technology industry has a faster growing rate compared to other industries, the number of women in the technology is shrinking. Wojcicki also notes that innovation thrives through diversity; therefore the tech industry suffers when we are missing input from one half of our population. She concludes by encouraging young girls to consider technical careers, while hoping that those in the technology industry will do their part to encourage women into the field.

It would seem that while women are avid users of technology, few are working behind the scenes. Women earn 57 percent of all undergraduate degrees, but only account for 18 percent of all undergraduate computer and information sciences degrees. With so few women getting these degrees, this means that there are even fewer women in technology leadership positions. In fact, the number of female chief information officers (CIOs) has decreased from 12 percent (2010) to 11 percent (2011) to nine percent (2012).

Technology programs are important to young girls, especially those living in developing countries. Having computer skills can be beneficial when looking for employment, but these girls are often at a larger disadvantage, as many have to quit school due to gender discrimination. Experts say, “Without computer skills, these girls are shut out from one of the weapons to fight poverty.” So, what’s being done to help? There are many non-profits that are dedicated to encouraging more girls to consider careers in technology.

Here are three Mindful Technology examples:

  1. Girlstart. This organization “fosters girls’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic electives, majors, and careers.” They have after school programs, summer camps, and conferences. Girlstart is supported by companies like Google.
  2. Little Miss Geek. This non-profit’s mission is to encourage more girls to consider a career in computer programing. This U.K. based group is implementing Little Miss Geek Tech Clubs in London schools and they even have a book.
  3. Girls Who Code. This national nonprofit organization hopes to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors. They educate, inspire, and equip high school girls with their tech clubs and summer immersion programs.

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