Without a doubt, the situation for women entering the tech industry has drastically improved in recent years. More women are receiving STEM undergraduate degrees and companies are under significant pressure to fix their gender problems.
However, there are still huge obstacles faced by women interested in tech careers — and the numbers show a clear disparity between the experiences of men and women in this field. For example, in 2017 there was no U.S. state where more women than men earned STEM degrees.
Though gender diversity has increased in tech hubs like Silicon Valley, the progress is slow and there is still a stunning lack of women in executive positions. This is why a number of nonprofits, such as the ones listed below, have created resources to support women at all points in their tech careers.
Some organizations aim to grow and recruit talent from a young age, while others simply seek to support women who otherwise feel isolated in the industry. Either way, they all have the common goal in mind of fixing a pipeline problem whose existence does not make economic sense.
Great Organizations Supporting Women in Tech
1. Women Who Code
Women Who Code is trying to level out the unequal representation of women in top tech positions. The nonprofit wants more female founders, venture capitalists, board members, software engineers, and executives.
To accomplish this, Women Who Code has created a supportive 180,000-person community. Whether it’s coding resources, global events, communal job boards, or scholarships, WWCode members have access to numerous technical, professional, and financial benefits.
More than just enjoying the sense of community, “80% of members report experiencing a positive career impact after joining.”
Entering or re-entering the workforce can be extremely difficult for women who have taken time off to raise children. MotherCoders aims to solve this issue by matching up the under-utilized talent pool of educated mothers with the 1.4 million unfilled tech positions they estimate will be open by 2020 in the U.S.
In addition to the lack of professional opportunities given to moms, MotherCoders recognizes that mothers can face numerous logistical issues when trying to launch a new career. Unpredictable schedules, financial constraints, and the need for childcare are all components of working motherhood that MotherCoders tailors its services to, using a varied approach of online work and classroom workshops.
On top of helping moms develop coding knowledge, the nonprofit aims to build industry experience and create fruitful networks of support.
Dr. Anita Borg was a computer scientist who worked tirelessly throughout her career to create communities of support for women in computing. In 1987, she launched one such community which has evolved to become today’s leading organization for women in technology.
The goal of AnitaB.org is two-fold. Not only does the nonprofit seek to increase the influence of women in the technology industry, but it also aims to promote the creation of technology that has positive impacts on the world’s women.
4. Girls in Tech
Girls in Tech was founded in San Francisco in 2007 with the goal of ending gender inequality in startups and tech companies.
With this big task in mind, the non-profit decided to focus on empowering and educating women interested in tech careers; giving them the necessary skills and connections to compete in an unbalanced job market.
Since its foundation, Girls in Tech has developed an array of services that reach more than 62,000 members in 33 countries.
As well as hosting more traditional educational programs such as coding courses and boot camps, Girls in Tech co-ordinates hands-on events like a startup competition to provide members with funding and global exposure, a Catalyst Conference to help girls network and mingle, and a Hacking for Humanity two-day code-a-thon.
5. National Center for Women & Information Technology
The National Center for Women & Informational Technology is exactly what it sounds like: a central community that unites and encourages the change-leading organizations that seek to increase meaningful female engagement in computing.
It was founded in 2004 by the National Science Foundation to bring together all of the isolated efforts to support women in tech. The hope was that by sharing resources, best practices, and strategies, the impact would be greater than if these programs existed alone.
Today, NCWIT works with partners like Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Bank of America, and represents over 1,100 companies, universities, government organizations, and nonprofits.
By working with both female and male “change leaders,” the organization has made significant progress in its mission to help women of all races, ethnicities, classes, ages, sexual orientations, and disability statuses find influence in the world of tech.
6. Latinas in Tech
Out of Silicon Valley in 2014, Gretel Perera and Rocio van Nierop launched Latinas in Tech to create a community for Latina women working in the industry.
They started with informal meet-ups and quickly accelerated to hosting sessions in some of Silicon Valley’s top tech companies. Today, there are over 5,000 members representing over 15 different nationalities, with many hailing from the industry’s top 50 most desirable companies.
To prevent more women of color from being left behind by the tech industry, Latinas in Tech offers professional development opportunities such as leadership workshops and training, recruits members for jobs while simultaneously diversifying companies, and provides mentorship to help members thrive in their careers.
The nonprofit has also grown its reach to half-a-dozen other U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Mexico City.
7. Girls Who Code
Reshma Saujani started Girls Who Code when she was running for Congress in 2012. She noticed a lack of young girls in computer science classes at the schools along her campaign route, and came up with the concept for a nonprofit that would fix the problem from the bottom — by “building the largest pipeline of future female engineers in the United States.”
Girls Who Code offers a variety of coding-focused programs ranging from after school clubs for girls from 3rd to 12th grade, short specialized summer courses or longer summer programs exposing students to tech industry opportunities, and a strong alumni network to help students succeed in college and beyond.
The organization has already worked directly with 185,000 girls from across the U.S. and indirectly with “100,000,000, with 50% of the girls served from historically underrepresented groups.”