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By Alethea Lodge-Clarke, Public-Private Partnerships Manager, International Organizations, Microsoft
Women and girls are extremely underrepresented in science and technology in the developing and developed world. In the United States, only 18% of computer science degrees are earned by women and only 22% of software engineers at technology companies are women. While information and communications technology (ICT) play an important role in the empowerment of women around the world, women in developed and developing countries face challenges to training and access, which often limits their ability to reach their full professional potential.
In an effort to encourage more women to consider careers in ICTs, Microsoft is supporting the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for its annual Girls in ICT Day on April 25. Girls in ICT Day brings together girls, young women and university students to attend events hosted by ICT companies, NGOs and government agencies around the world. This year, Microsoft is participating in technical workshops that teach skills such as coding, web design, and mobile app development.
Microsoft Research is also committed to bridging the gender gap in computing careers. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2018 there will be 1.4 million open technology and computer science jobs in the United States, but only 29% of the applicants will be women. To help grow the next generation of women in computing careers, Microsoft Research focuses on four key actions to help bridge the gender gap:
To learn more about the effort, watch the Women in Computing Careers at Microsoft Video Series, the Bridging the Gender Gap Video or click here to view the brochure.
In addition, Microsoft in partnership with ITU, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN Women recently released a white paper on getting girls interested in STEM education and careers with a series of recommendations. The whitepaper, “Girls in STEM and ICT Careers: The Path toward Gender Equality,” explores potential solutions to the global challenge of increasing the number of girls interested in STEM subjects.