According to an exclusive joint interview with The Associated Press, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg along with LinkedIn CEO Jeffrey Weiner are launching support programs at several colleges so as to get more women to take up studying technology. This initiative will hopefully help the two companies have more women employees.
Currently only 31% of all Facebook employees are women, 16% of them having jobs that are tech related. As far as LinkedIn is concerned, women comprise 17% of the tech employees and 39% of the overall employees. And things look the same, or even worse for other related companies.
“Think about it,” Telle Whitney, president and CEO of the Anita Borg Institute, a partner in the initiative, said. “If everybody who creates a product looks the same, you know the results won’t be nearly as interesting. We want for the sake of our future to have women involved in all the projects that will change our lives.”
Sheryl Sandberg published a book in 2011 called “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” in which she raised the problem regarding the constantly diminishing the number of women in positions of power. She’s been trying to make a change with the help of her nonprofit organisation, LeanIn.org, which actually provides a platform for the currently established groups.
Sandberg is of the opinion that gender equity is the key to a balanced outcome as far as serving users and clients is concerned. All in all the percentage of women who enrol in undergraduate computer science programs peaked at 35 percent back in 1985 and is down to about 17 percent currently.
The initiative is intended to go worldwide. Nevertheless the executives wouldn’t reveal how much the financial commitment they are making adds up to.Moreover the nature of this investment is somewhat different, meaning that it focuses more on peer groups and on mentoring processes.
Girls studying fields such as computer engineering tend to get discouraged easily because of the male competition and attitude that includes sexist remarks as well. But this LinkedIn – Facebook joint venture is supposed to solve these problems too. Integration and confidence as well as the need to know that they are not alone is likely to give women a boost in order to pursue a tech related career, if this is what they wish for.