WeTech partners are committed to connecting girls and women to existing tech opportunities and creating new opportunities in their future. Initially, WeTech will focus activities in Africa, India, and the U.S., while exploring opportunities to expand to other regions.
In India and the U.S., WeTech will design and implement a program for girls that will include school and community awareness to promote the idea of tech careers to parents and teachers; innovative, hands-on, tech-focused after school activities; hackathons; and access to inspiring role models and mentors.
WeTech support for university women in India will include networking and outreach events in Bangalore and Hyderabad for women studying engineering, university scholarships, internships, and professional development and leadership opportunities.
The WeTech Mentoring Program will provide opportunities to connect the next generation of tech leaders with established leaders. WeTech will launch a customized, e-mentoring platform linking women and girls in India, the U.S., and beyond. Initially WeTech will target university women as mentees. They will be linked to mentors at WeTech partner companies who will provide support, career advice, and guidance as the university women transition into the workforce. This component provides employee engagement opportunities, inspiring staff at participating tech companies to donate time and expertise.
In Africa, the WeTech Seed Fund for Women + Girls in Computer Science in Africa will award small grants from $2,000 to $20,000 to individual women and women-led NGOs. The grants will (a) expand existing pilot programs that engage and support women and girls in computer science, and (b) foster collaboration and strengthened networks by linking grantees working in this space, both locally and regionally.
WeTech will also include a component focused on innovation in secondary education programming, research, and development to foster STEM education for high school girls in target geographies.
As WeTech Commitment Manager, IIE aims to expand the WeTech consortium of partners, grow resources to $10,000,000 over three years, and launch activities, establish networks, and provide opportunities and meaningful partnerships to women and girls in technology in additional countries such as Brazil and China.
The following components comprise the core WeTech activities:
Produce a white paper on challenges facing women as they pursue and progress in technical careers in Brazil, India, and the U.S.
January-December 2014 (this is the first year's Action Plan; Action plan for subsequent two years TBD shortly)
Identify innovative best practices for girls in tech-related education in secondary schools in the U.S. and Africa, and implement teacher training for a small group of high-potential educators in the U.S., as well as policy initiatives for integrating best practices in targeted African countries.
Establish clusters of secondary schools in Bangalore, Hyderabad, and select U.S. cities. Approximately 200 girls will join tech-focused afterschool activities, connect with mentors, gain exposure to role models, and benefit from community events educating hundreds of parents and teachers on the potential power of tech careers for girls.
Launch a customized e-mentoring platform for cross-border and local mentoring experience.
Match 250-500 established leaders from WeTech partner companies with university students in India and other geographies. These mentor-mentee pairs will focus on support for the young women as they transition from university into the workforce.
Organize networking events for 100-200 university women in Hyderabad and Bangalore, including panel discussions with speakers and interactive networking opportunities designed to encourage and support university women to establish a network of women engineering students across their colleges.
Pool interest and resources across the partner community to organize WeTech hackathons for 100-200 university women, offering scholarships as prizes.
Award 50-75 scholarship packages to promising engineering students, including partial tuition plus funds to attend a local conference or networking event, or to support an internship opportunities.
October 2013-April 2015
The WeTech Seed Fund for Women + Girls in Computer Science in Africa will award 30-50 small grants to individual women or NGOs to support and expand ongoing events and trainings for women and girls to raise their access to training and information on computer science-related studies and jobs. These grants will have significant multiplier effect and positively impact hundreds, or perhaps thousands, additional members of the communities across Africa.
With the accelerating growth of computer-related jobs globally, engaging more women is critical to both bridge the talent gap and provide companies with the diverse skills and perspectives necessary to thrive. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that more than half of the 1.4 million new computing jobs anticipated by 2018 could go unfilled because candidates will not possess sufficient education and qualifications. While innovative programs addressing these issues are underway in the U.S. much remains to be accomplished, and less attention has been paid to emerging market economies which will increasingly be the source of talent and job opportunities for global companies.
India is a key geography in which technology continues to be a key source of growth and employment, and over the past decade an increased number of women pursued degrees in technology fields and entered tech jobs. However, the gender gap persists, particularly at senior management levels and at premier institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), which provide the primary recruiting ground for leading tech companies.
In 2011, despite women's increased participation in the tech workforce, only 3% of female IT employees in India occupied senior roles, 16% were at mid-management level, and 81% remained at the junior rung, according to a report by the global recruitment firm Kelly Services. Only one in every 10 senior management positions was occupied by a woman in the Indian tech sector. Moreover, women drop out of the tech industry at a crucial time of their careers due to a variety of reasons. For instance, 22% of women left their jobs because of 'family reasons', 27% quit while taking care of their children, and 32% were unable to return to the tech sector due to lack of suitable employment opportunities.
It is critical for more young women to pursue and succeed in tech-related studies and careers. To fully succeed, they need access to role models and strong systems of personal, professional, and mentor support. The more that current and rising young technical women can be sustained in the field, the more potential they will have to serve as role models and contribute to building a healthy pipeline - creating an ongoing cycle of women contributing to the growth of their countries' economies, achieving their own professional goals, and supporting the ongoing development of the tech sector and its unprecedented impact on human life.
WeTech seeks partners able to offer support in three areas. First, WeTech needs financial resources to support the roll-out of its different components. These include internships, sponsorship of networking and hackathon events, and donations to the WeTech Seed Fund. Second, WeTech also seeks curriculum and training materials relevant to its goals that can be offered in-kind and adapted to local needs of its participants. Another option is ongoing training opportunities that can include WeTech participants. Finally, WeTech also requires individual leaders in tech, both women and men, as well as companies, that are interested in employee engagement activities. Such activities include mentoring, speaking engagements, and skills building in India and Africa to expose women and young girls to role models and resources.
Financial resources to support the roll-out of WeTech program components including scholarships, internships, sponsorship of events such as hackathons for girls, and donations to the WeTech Seed Fund for Women + Girls in Computer Science in Africa;
Curriculum and training materials relevant to WeTech goals that can be offered in-kind and adapted to the local needs of WeTech participants, or ongoing training opportunities that can be expanded to include WeTech participants;
Individual women leaders and/or companies interested in employee engagement activities that include mentoring opportunities and speaking engagements in India and Africa to expose women and girls to role models;
Donations of laptops and tablets to complement WeTech scholarships;
Media support to generate publicity and special impact stories that will garner additional partners and resources.
WeTech offers a variety of opportunities for involvement, including employee engagement, innovative curricula that can be leveraged and expanded to support girls and women in targeted communities, mentoring opportunities, and the opportunity to pool resources and learn and share across the industry. In addition, WeTech offers ready-made opportunities to invest in initiatives that educate girls in tech, and to contribute to a fund that will support computer science initiatives for women and girls with small grants.
Through the WeTech commitment, the Institute of International Education is pleased to offer support to other organizations and entities in building a diverse network of commitment partners, best practices in scholarship design and small grants programs, innovative curricula and employee engagement activities that can be leveraged and expanded to support girls and women. In addition, IIE can offer topic expertise on women and girls in STEM through our network of partners.