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Coalition of Tech Groups Announce New Program to Decrease Gender Gap in STEM

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A group of tech organizations recently announced the creation of a special project dedicated to helping young girls find their way into the STEM world.

Known as “#GirlsLeadStem,” the initiative helps empower girls, particularly BIPOC girls, to get them interested in a future in STEM through conversation, according to the press release. As part of the initiative, the participants will get to hear about the experiences of women in STEM and will receive advice on topics such as the problems BIPOC people face in STEM careers. 

#GirlsLeadSteam will also facilitate conversations about what the girls themselves think is needed for them to make it in these fields and will work on devoting themselves to other programs that decrease the STEM gender gap.

Amongst the tech organizations that are part of the initiative are the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the Lyda Hill Philanthropies’ IF/THEN initiative, STEM Next Opportunity Fund and the National Girls Collaborative Project. Techbridge Girls, a nonprofit that focuses on changing the way STEM is taught and bringing it to underserved communities, is also part of the new program. 

“We want #GirlsLeadSTEM month to catapult STEM equity, especially for girls of color, to the forefront of national discourse,” said the Director of the Intel Corporation’s Global STEM Research, Policy and Initiatives, Dr. Gabriela A. Gonzalez, in a statement. “There is a sense of increased urgency across the board, from corporate leaders to nonprofit organizations, behind creating opportunities for girls in STEM and taking action to broaden access to resources.”

Although women are getting their college degrees at higher and faster rates than men, there’s still a disproportionately small amount of women in STEM fields. According to a recent report by Science and Engineering Indicators, overall, women made up just 34% of STEM workers in the U.S. in 2019. 

Of all the career paths STEM fields have to offer, women were absent in tech fields the most, making up just 14% of engineers and 26% of computer and mathematical occupations workers.

For Black and Hispanic women, getting into STEM fields was even more difficult as they were hired at rates lower than more than twice that of white men, according to a 2021 report by the Digest of Education Statistics. 

“We continue to ask our girls, especially, Black and brown who experience economic insecurity, to fit in a box that they were not created to thrive in,” said the CEO of Techbridge Girls, Nikole Collins-Puri, in a statement. “We are excited about what this collective movement can do for our field but more importantly for girls across the country who will see themselves, their voices and their experiences amplified so we can go from moving the needle an inch to driving it forward for generations to come.”

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