With the right funding, women will stake their ground in STEM
Innovation is everything. In the past decade alone, the world has totally transformed. Remember that very first time you summoned an Uber? And this amazing progress is due to the relentless efforts of the best and brightest minds.
Here’s the thing: Even the best and brightest minds need funding.
Without financial backing, there’s no Uber. There’s no Twitter, no Snapchat. And, of course, it’s not just about apps: From stem cell research to digital music production, just about all STEM-based work (science, technology, engineering and math) hinges on adequate funding.
That’s a serious issue for the countless brilliant people with big dreams and empty wallets. And it’s particularly challenging for young women, who face particular gendered barriers in fields heavily dominated by men.
In fact, the prominence of women in STEM has actually decreased in recent years. The quit rate of women in tech is concerningly high — 56 percent, which is twice the rate as that of men who leave their jobs at the peak of their careers. Meanwhile, a Reuters study found that more than a quarter of tech executives said their companies had no women at all in leadership positions.
Even organizations boasting female senior-level execs lack gender equality. Sheryl Sandberg is lauded for her excellent leadership as Facebook’s COO, yet the Facebook itself is only 15 percent female. Google has a marginally better 17 percent, while Twitter’s number is a dismal 10 percent.
My philanthropy, 1,000 Dreams Fund, provides scholarships to promising girls with huge goals. We often hear from should-be leaders who are itching to build the next big software platform or save lives with breakthroughs in medicine — but they lack that key financial kick-start.
So my team joined forces with an awesome counterpart: HARMAN International Industries, a top-tier tech company for auto, consumer and enterprise markets. We developed a challenge for the incredible young women blazing their own paths in the world of technology — and the winning rewards are pretty great. The #NewFaceofTech campaign launches right in time for Women’s History Month, and we’re incredibly excited to see participation from a diverse mix of gifted women nationwide.
“Our best innovations are a direct result of the range of ideas that come from our diverse workforce,” said Christi Downes, HARMAN’s Vice President of Global Talent Management, Diversity & Corporate HR. “We believe you need to be bold for change and actively participate in driving the change you want to see.”
Together, 1,000 Dreams Fund and HARMAN are inviting young female STEM leaders to show how they are the #NewFaceofTech. It’s simple: Snap a photo and share what you plan to achieve in your STEM career. Don’t hold back — we want to know your absolute biggest goals.
Two young women will be selected to receive financial grants to put toward their remarkable initiatives.
So how do we best go about bringing more gender equality to tech? By supporting all those young women who proudly are the #NewFaceofTech. Let’s shine a spotlight and financially support the stellar young women whose minds will change the world.
Christie is a millennial expert, author and award-winning social entrepreneur who has long supported the professional dreams of young women. In addition to creating the 1,000 Dreams Fund, which helps young women obtain scholarship funding, Christie also founded UChic.com, the first-ever online magazine for college-bound and college-aged women. The popular site became the best-selling college guidebook for girls: UChic: College Girls’ Real Advance for Your First Year (& Beyond!) (Sourcebooks 2015).