50/50 Scholarship initiative seeks to skill women in STEM, achieve gender parity
- To help achieve gender parity in technology, Flatiron School and SeatGeek have partnered to give away up to $200,000 in scholarships to women who apply to their 50/50 Scholarship program through the end of March, according to an announcement on Flatiron School's site. Recipients will be eligible for one of 60 scholarships worth $3,500, Flatiron said.
- Today, women hold only 25% of tech roles, Flatiron and SeatGreek said, and the program is part of their efforts to create equal representation for women in tech. The pair will offer scholarships for credentials in software engineering, data science and UX/UI design, according to Flatiron's site.
- The Flatiron School reports more than $10 million in scholarships have been provided to women and low-income students over the last 7 years and notes they've helped over 1,000 women gain access to tech employment in the past.
Gender inequality in STEM has long been an issue. However, the #MeToo movement recently brought the pervasiveness of gender discrimination and harassment in all industries to light, and employers are still navigating the aftershocks of the cultural shakeup that followed.
One component of the diversity problem in training is mini-me syndrome, in which organizational leaders hire people from similar backgrounds as their own and further perpetuate inequality. L&D professionals can work to counteract this, however, by incorporating anti-bias training into planning and providing mentorships and other opportunities for underrepresented segments of the workforce.
Though a "chilly environment" for women in STEM fields has been documented, some data indicate a new interest in cybersecurity among millennial women that may shift the balance. Employers might be able to help turn the tide further by working to increase diversity of all kinds in their hiring efforts and by funding female-targeted higher education initiatives in science. For some, reaching out to young women, even at the grade school level, with educational tools designed to instill an interest in sciences and technology might be a long-term solution.
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