April 17, 2012

By: Kelsey Rugani

Growing Opportunities for Women in Technology to Help Close the Growing Digital Divide

Etsy, the handmade art and jewelry online marketplace, recently announced partnering with the Hacker School, a three-month coding program in New York City, to provide scholarships for women interested in completing the program.

The Etsy Hacker Grants will award ten $5,000 grants for the three-month summer session. The session itself is free so the money will be utilized for living in and living it up in New York City.

Women: The Missing Piece of the Tech Industry Puzzle

Etsy’s Vice President of Engineering, Marc Hedlund, has openly voiced support for recruiting more women to join the male-dominated programming workforce. The summer session class is comprised of 40 students, 20 of which Hedlund is hoping to be filled by women.

A 17-year veteran of the Internet industry, Hedlund says that over the course of his career, he has hired 20 women but hundreds of men. Not even one in five software designers are women.

Bridging the Digital Divide to Increase Diversity

Supporting women in technology is not just happening on the East Coast. Right here in the Bay Area, Kimberly Bryant founded the organization Black Girls Code to empower young women of color to explore technological career opportunities in the Bay Area and beyond. Bryant collaborated with San Francisco Assessor-Recorder and State Assembly candidate Phil Ting to host a discussion on bridging the digital divide to help women and minorities break into the thriving tech industry.

Curious, passionate and intelligent women can contribute greatly to the growing digital economy. They can also eradicate the “Big Bang Theory” stereotype of what a programmer or software designer should look and act like. The Etsy Hacker Grants not only advocate for equality in the workplace, but by providing more people with the Hacker School education, the world’s digital divide will begin closing. At Reset, we know that a more diverse workforce can provide better solutions for fixing the social and economic issues because more diversity means more perspectives which can lead to more ideas and solutions.