With the accelerating growth of engineering-related jobs globally and the predicted shortage of equipped employees, engaging more women is critical to both bridging the talent gap and providing companies with the diverse skills and perspectives necessary to thrive.
Innovative solutions to this global tech challenge are emerging from various corners of the world and from various sectors of society. Solutions involving a range of public and private partners are likely to have the greatest impact.
One public-private partnership is IIE’s Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech) program.
Two Years of WeTech
Two years ago this month, IIE launched a new program to help women and girls enter and succeed in tech careers. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton introduced WeTech on stage at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting in 2013. WeTech is a consortium of private sector and NGO partners that designs and supports a series of innovative activities to provide training, build networks and offer professional opportunities across the world.
In the time since, IIE has partnered with corporations like Qualcomm, Google, and Goldman Sachs to make a real impact on girls’ ability to enter STEM fields and women’s professional success in those fields around the world.
Here’s a snapshot of what’s happened in the last two years, through a range of impactful programs across the United States and the world.
- 10,000 girls and women have been reached through innovative WeTech program activities that involve afterschool initiatives, scholarships, internships, seedfunding, coding camps and competitions, and leadership workshops;
- 200 professional mentors have volunteered time to nurture and support the next generation of female tech leaders;
- 27 partner organizations have contributed financial and in-kind support to WeTech, including corporate sponsors, nonprofit organizations, universities and governmental entities;
- WeTech programming expanded to 20 countries on 4 continents.
Our programs range from hands-on trainings and camps to scholarships to funding grassroots organizations doing important work on the ground:
- Building a network for girls and providing access to STEM education: With support from lead partners Qualcomm and Goldman Sachs, WeTech implements after school and summer programs for girls in India and the United States.
- Preparing young women for tomorrow’s workforce with scholarships, mentorships and internships: A holistic package of financial support, internships and mentorships gives university women an important opportunity to gain real world experience, access to role models and mentors, and enhanced technical skills. It also ensures that, upon graduation, the women will elect a technical career and be poised to succeed in that chosen career. WeTech partners Qualcomm and Juniper Networks are supporting university-level programming in China, India, and the United States.
- Seed funding for initiatives across Africa that are supporting women and girls in computer science: Another innovative model that the program employs is the WeTech Seed Fund for Women + Girls in Computer Science. There are very few foundations, companies and organizations that provide funding to local community groups, civil society leaders, and social enterprising organizations in the technology and social impact space – and even fewer that specifically target Africa. With support from Google, WeTech selected 35 projects from 16 countries in Africa to receive grants of $5,000 - $20,000 to expand their work supporting girls and women in computer science.
How to Get Involved
With our growing list of partners and increasingly global programming, we’re really excited about what the future holds for WeTech – and for girls and women in technical fields.
Contact WeTech@iie.org for more information and to learn about partnership opportunities.