Feeds

Microsoft invests $1m in IT girls

Designing Women

The essential guide to IT transformation

Microsoft has made its second million-dollar grant to the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) to support the advancement of women in IT.

Founded in 2004, NCWIT is a coalition of over 170 corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to expand women's participation in IT. Members include Apple, AT&T, the Bank of America, Carnegie Mellon, Google, HP, Intel, MIT, Motorola, Pfizer, Princeton, Qualcomm, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, Wal-Mart, and others.

In a statement, NCWIT's CEO Lucy Sanders said "Women make up half the world’s population, they use technology as much as men, and they are innovative technical thinkers. If we want the best technology we can get, then we need women at the design table."

There aren't many women seated at that table today, as even a cursory survey of most corporate IT departments, industry confabs, and academic departments will show.

NCWIT cites a number of statistics (PDF) to support its assertion that women are underrepresented in IT:

  • Although 57 per cent of US undergraduate degrees went to women 2008, only 18 per cent of computer and information sciences degrees were earned by women.
  • Only 24 per cent of IT positions in the US are held by women.
  • Although 57 per cent of US high-school advanced-placement (AP) tests were taken by women in 2008, only 17 per cent of AP computer science (CS) were female.

And the disparity is growing. In 1985, women earned 37 percent of CS degrees, but - as noted above - that number dropped to 18 per cent last year.

NCWIT argues that their work to advance women in IT isn't merely a matter of gender equity. As their mission statement contends, "We believe that inspiring more women to choose careers in IT isn't about parity; it's a compelling issue of innovation, competitiveness, and workforce sustainability. In a global economy, gender diversity in IT means a larger and more competitive workforce; in a world dependent on innovation, it means the ability to design technology that is as broad and creative as the people it serves."

Microsoft appears to agree. Their new grant is a follow-up to a million-dollar grant made in 2006 that has supported a number of NCWIT initiatives, including Academic Alliance Seed Fund start-up grants to universities to attract and retain women in IT and CS programs, and the Award for Aspirations in Computing, which recognizes high-school women for "computing-related achievements and interests."

At a time when the Meltdown is forcing academic institutions at all levels to suspend outreach programs, increase class sizes, and curtail such expensive investments as networking teaching labs, Microsoft's commitment to helping expand IT and CS opportunities for half the population is to be commended. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.