Workplace diversity is known to be a great source of innovation: new ideas flourish when different people from a variety of backgrounds are brought together. Yet many companies in the software and wider technology sector struggle to get a balance of male and female staff – and it looks like the situation is only set to get worse.
Analysts report that the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects at universities is widening. According to a presentation given by Intel in its recent diversity-themed coder meetup in London, just 18 percent of computer science graduates were female in 2012, down from 37 percent in 1987. This suggests a significant future shortfall in women who are adequately qualified for careers such as software engineering.
Also at the meetup, sponsored by Intel Developer Zone, other worrying statistics were discussed, including that around 65 million girls worldwide who should be in school are not. Addressing this educational imbalance was seen by all as important to businesses and economies in the future.
Fortunately, some technology leaders are trying to change things. Intel, for example, runs and participates in a number of programmes to encourage girls and women into STEM education and careers, as well as actively support them when they get there:
- She Will Connect – an Intel program dedicated to getting more women in sub-Saharan Africa connected to the internet to enable them to take advantage of educational, entrepreneurial and employment opportunities
- Girls Who Code – this organisation, supported by a large number of tech giants, aims to educate and inspire girls to pursue careers in technology and engineering
- Innovator Program – Intel is actively seeking developers of all backgrounds to become Software Innovators, experts in cutting edge technologies who are willing to share their skills with other aspiring coders
For more discussion about trying to get more of all types of people, particularly women, into STEM education and careers, take a look at this video featuring Intel’s Prabha Ganapathy.
• This blog post is written by Softtalkblog, and is sponsored by the Intel Developer Zone, which helps you to develop, market and sell software and apps for prominent platforms and emerging technologies powered by Intel Architecture.