Women in STEM: 20 Organizations Working to Close Tech’s Gender Gap
The job opportunities in the tech industry are among the fastest growing in the country. Yet, because women remain woefully underrepresented in STEM careers, most of those vacancies will be filled by men. In 2017, according to the US Department of Commerce, women held 47 percent of all jobs in the US, but only 24 percent of STEM jobs.
But that disparity won’t hold for long if the following organizations have anything to say about it. Below are 20 amazing organizations working with women and girls across the country to ignite their passions for STEM, raise awareness of available opportunities, and help them develop the skills they’ll need to succeed in the future.
CoderDojo is a global movement consisting of nearly 2,000 free volunteer-led programming clubs for young people. Anyone aged 7 to 17 can visit a local dojo to learn how to program a website, create an app, and explore technology in a fun and social environment. More than 50,000 kids across 107 countries have been introduced to the STEM field thanks to CoderDojo and its volunteer force of roughly 12,000.
Write/Speak/Code uses peer-led professional development to help level the playing field and increase visibility for traditionally marginalized genders within tech. Their membership is open to women, non-binary individuals, and trans technologists; the organization currently offers an annual conference, as well as chapter-led events and meetings.
Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code was founded by Reshma Saujani with one mission: to close the gender gap in technology. The nonprofit organization runs a series of programs aimed at immersing girls of all ages and backgrounds in the world of tech. This includes a seven-week Summer Immersion program, a two-week campus program, and free after-school programs for girls in grades 3 through 12.
Rails Girls is an international movement started by Linda Liukas and Karri Saarinen that opens up the world of technology to girls and women through free weekend-long events. The nonprofit also runs the Rails Girls Summer of Code, a paid global fellowship that offers women and non-binary coders a three-month internship to work on open-source projects.
Black Girls Code
Black Girls Code empowers young girls of color to learn programming and other STEM skills. By engaging these girls at a time in their lives when they are naturally curious and thinking about what they want to be when they grow up, BGC aims to introduce a new generation of girls to programming and provide them with the in-demand skills they need to pursue a career in tech.
GOALS for Girls
GOALS for Girls (Greater Opportunities Advancing Leadership and Science) is a year-round program run by the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York. The program offers several ways for girls to explore STEM topics, such as a six-week Summer Intensive, weekend science forums, and internships.
Million Women Mentors
Million Women Mentors is a movement aimed at boosting the engagement and confidence among girls in STEM through mentorship. The nationwide organization connects more than one million STEM mentors to a network of volunteer-run organizations across 40-plus states that represents 30 million girls and women.
1000 Girls, 1000 Futures
The New York Academy of Science’s 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures program aims to increase the number of women in STEM roles through mentoring and skills development. Any girl worldwide between the ages of 13 and 18 who is currently enrolled in high school can take part and receive one-on-one mentoring from professional scientists and engineers. Networking opportunities and development-focused coursework are also available, as is a book club. Best of all, everything happens online on a moderated platform.
TechGirlz hosts free workshops for middle school girls to encourage early interest in technology. Rather than focusing on just programming, the organization covers all STEM fields to show girls the wealth of STEM careers available to them. More than 10,000 girls have attended their workshops to date—and with 81 percent of attendees reporting they have changed their minds positively about a career in tech, TechGirlz’s impact is undeniable.
App Camp For Girls
App Camp For Girls is true to its name. The organization takes a more focused approach than many educational organizations, introducing middle school girls to the tech world specifically through app development. The camp is a week-long experience, in which participants build complete apps from the ground up. The aim is to raise awareness of tech industry careers and inspire girls to pursue further STEM education even after camp is over.
GirlCode, by Coding Space in New York City, is a 13-week program aimed at helping young girls discover the world of tech--and then build the skills they need to thrive in that space. There are two courses, a beginner and an advanced, both of which run over the course of multiple days during the week. With a dedicated space and a 5:1 student to teacher ratio, GirlCode offers girls everything they need to blossom in STEM.
Kode With Klossy
Kode With Klossy is a free two-week summer camp for girls from 13 to 18 years old. During camp, girls are immersed in the world of code and taught software engineering principles, as well as some of the most essential programming languages. The course aims to be as open and accessible as possible: No experience is necessary, and camps are available in 25 cities across the US.
Lancaster Girls Code Club
The Girls Code Club, run by the Lancaster Science Factory in Pennsylvania, is a monthly meetup where tech-curious girls ages 8 to 13 can learn computer science and coding principles. Attendees learn, among other things, to build their own websites, design their own games, and create their own computer programs.
SHINE for Girls
SHINE for Girls is an extracurricular math program unlike anything you’ve ever seen. This after-school program uses dance-based kinesthetic learning, which relies on active moment, to teach young girls math. Incorporating movement into the instructional process helps students grasp concepts with more clarity and retain more information. The program gets girls excited about math, boosts their confidence, and helps them get better at working in teams—all while becoming better dancers to boot.
Officially endorsed by the Society of Women Engineers, Alexa Café is an all-girls camp that takes place in 15 locations across the country thanks to iD Tech. The program was inspired by iD Tech’s cofounder, Alexa Ingram-Cauchi, and blends tech with entrepreneurship and social impact to provide a balanced, wide-ranging educational experience for young girls. Alexa Café offers both day camp and overnight camp, and each runs for one week at a time.
All year long, Girlstart hosts innovative, nationally recognized STEM educational programs designed to encourage girls’ interest in science and engineering. Skills development is key to the program, but so is raising awareness of the value that STEM brings to the world. To date, Girlstart has educated more than 30,000 girls—the vast majority of whom participated for free.
GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) aims to increase elementary and middle school girls’ interest in STEM. Started in 1994 by teacher and parent Laura Reasoner, GEMS now has clubs all over the world, inspiring girls to excel in math and science. And for those girls who don’t find any clubs in their area,, the GEMS website provides all of the resources a girl needs to start learning STEM on her own.
Digital Youth Divas
Digital Youth Divas is a Chicago-based after-school program that facilitates girls’ participation in engineering and computer science-based activities, and focuses specifically on empowering girls from underrepresented communities. Since 2013, Digital Youth Divas has helped 300 girls discover STEM and improve their skills.
The Center for STEM Education for Girls
The Center for STEM Education for Girls, run by the Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, envisions a world without a STEM gender gap. To make this vision a reality, the center hosts a Summer Institute for female students in grades 7 through 12, who build projects to help girls elsewhere in the world. The Center’s 2018 summer class, for example, worked to help a St. John school devastated by recent hurricanes.
Girls in Engineering
Hosted by UC Berkeley, Girls in Engineering is a STEM camp that aims to inspire girls to consider a career in engineering. During a weeklong day camp, sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade girls in the Bay Area explore the world of engineering in a safe, fun, hands-on setting. There, they get to work on their own engineering projects, learning key skills such as leadership and communication along the way.
Fullstack Academy’s Grace Hopper program is also fighting to close to the gender gap in tech. The all-women’s coding bootcamp offers deferred tuition to make tech education more accessible to women and provides a world-class learning environment, an advanced curriculum, and one-on-one support to help women pursue careers in tech. Learn more here.