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Despite decades of progress towards workplace equality, we're still miles away from where we need to be as women remain woefully underrepresented in the technology workforce. This gender disparity in the tech world affects women worldwide, and there is still a long way to go to solve this issue. Organisations need to recognise the problem and increase awareness—then act to change the dominant corporate culture. In this week's Emerge5, we look at some fantastic nonprofit organisations helping to change the game and make equal representation a reality.
Code First Girls
Code First Girls are dedicated to transforming tech by providing the skills, space, and inspiration for women to become innovative developers and future leaders. Last month, the company announced that it had surpassed its 2017 campaign goal to teach over 20,000 young women to code in the UK, for free. They are now the largest free coding courses provider for women, having delivered over £14million worth of free technology education through partnerships with Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, KKR, OVHcloud, and Trainline. In the last year, CFG has taught over three times as many women to code than the entire UK university undergraduate system. As part of its ongoing commitment to bridge the gender gap in the tech industry, CFG has pledged to double its community of women in technology in 2021 to close the UK's growing skills gap.
Black Girls Code
Black Girls Code reaches out to the community through workshops and after school programs and introduces computer coding lessons to young girls from underrepresented communities in programming languages such as Scratch or Ruby on Rails. They promote classes and programs that hope to grow the number of women of color working in technology and give underprivileged girls a chance to become the masters of their technological worlds. Black Girls Code's ultimate goal is to provide African-American youth with the skills to occupy some of the 1.4 million computing job openings expected to be available in the U.S by 2020 and train 1 million girls by 2040.
By 2025, DevelopHer wants to facilitate skills-based events for 10,000 community members, empower 2,000 community members to make courageous career decisions, spotlight and connect 1,000 women in tech to lift each other up and amplify the voice of the DevelopHer community where it matters most in government and business. They also organise regular events in London with high-profile women speakers and excellent partners from tech companies that support their cause. They are focused on tech, innovation, and entrepreneurship, but never about gender because they genuinely believe that together we are better.
Girls Who Code
Unfortunately, the gender gap in computing is getting worse, not better. In 1995, 37% of computer scientists were women. Today it's only 24%, and this will continue to decline. Girls Who Code is looking to change that number drastically by closing the gender gap in new entry-level tech jobs by 2027. They have reached 500 million people through online resources, campaigns, books, and advocacy work around the world. 300,000 girls have been served through their in-person programming, including their Summer Immersion program, Clubs, and College Loops. Finally, half of the girls they serve come from historically underrepresented groups, including black, Latinx, or low-income backgrounds.
We're Starting with probably the most well known and most established organisation on our list. Anita Borg was a computer scientist and founded this digital community for women in computing in 1987. AnitaB.org works with technologists in more than 80 countries and partners with academic institutions and Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Their goal is for the people who imagine and build technology to mirror the people and societies for whom they build it. To this day, they continue their global outreach to women through in-person and online programs such as the Abie Awards, AnitaB.org local communities, and various social networks.
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