Did you know that women only make up 26% of the computing workforce? What about the fact that, since the mid-80’s, the percentage of women holding computer science majors has decreased by 19%? Not to mention that men make up a hefty 80% of software developers! While those statistics are disheartening, one more is promising: “At the end of 2013, Code.org® launched the ‘Hour of Code’ campaign to advocate for more computer science education. After the first week, 15 million students had written more than 500 million lines of code – and over half of the participants were girls.”
There are existing programs and organizations, like Girls Who Code and Girl Develop It!, that provide resources and opportunities to girls and women who want to further their education or career in technology. To show support in those areas and help close the gender gap in technology, the Sabre Young Professionals Council (YPC) has partnered with Carroll Senior High School (Southlake, TX) to form Carroll Women In Technology (WIT). Currently, the group consists of Linda Woessner, AP Computer Science teacher and ex-NASA programmer, and about 10 sophomore and junior female students who are interested in learning to code.
As a female employee within Sabre Labs, our company’s dedicated new product incubator and technology research lab, and self-titled nerdette, I took a particular interest in supporting this mission. I have been attending Carroll WIT’s weekly meetings and have even helped them start the process of creating their first travel mobile application. The application will provide vaccination and immunization information to world travelers. The girls are starting from scratch, but they are a very intelligent and ambitious group, and I look forward to seeing their progress over time.
Sabre YPC plans to increase these students’ knowledge of the industry by providing guest speakers from Sabre to talk about the impact of technology on the company and various backgrounds from women in technology. Plans also include field trips to HQ, as well as invitations to participate in Sabre tech events such as the BringIt Hackathon this summer.
In the fall, I will continue to mentor the girls – and hopefully some new additions – in their journey of building their application! Mrs. Woessner has hopes of expanding their club to a local Girls Who Code chapter, where we can increase community focus, diversity and visibility on this worthy mission of strengthening the impact of influential women in technology.