Last month, when Melinda Gates announced a $50 million initiative to support gender-inclusive tech hubs, she highlighted a stubborn reality about the tech industry: By large margins, women are consistently underrepresented in the workforce. For women of color, those margins are even more extreme. According to a study by McKinsey, women of color represent only 4% of technical roles in tech companies (despite accounting for 16% of the general population). And when it comes to seats in the boardroom, that proportion dwindles even further.
Addressing this employment gap is not just a matter of making more hires. In what is a systemic problem with education—even education in its earliest stages—girls have less access and exposure to the types of math-, engineering-, and science-based curricula and training that later position their male counterparts as contenders for tech jobs.