An international nonprofit, Girls in Tech focuses on eliminating gender inequality at startups and throughout the high-tech industry. In this article, we take a closer look at the Girls in Tech initiatives and why its mentorship program is vital in motivating and inspiring women to pursue STEM-oriented (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers.
The Girls in Tech Mentorship Program aims to empower and educate women in the technology and entrepreneurship spheres. Designed to meet the individual needs of each participant, the program aims to identify and develop solutions for overcoming obstacles that prevent participants from reaching their goals. While the Girls in Tech Mentorship Program is only available to female university students and professionals, both male and female mentors are welcome to participate.
A focus on empowering women
A survey by the American Society for Training and Development showed that 75 percent of executives believe that mentorship is vital to their career development. For instance, an effective mentor-mentee relationship can help mentees to develop professional networks, create better resumes, and establish more defined career aspirations and goals. In addition, it enables people to enhance their knowledge and skills, as well as to build self-confidence in the process. Moreover, mentorships provide a launchpad to meet business influencers and develop meaningful professional connections.
Participants must possess drive and passion
The Girls in Tech mentorship program is action-oriented. For this reason, it is important for applicants to have a clear objective in mind. Mentees and mentors who are accepted into the program also must demonstrate drive and passion. After enrolling in the program, they are required to review the mentor and mentee instruction manual. Additionally, they must commit to a weekly phone call and attend at least one in-person meeting each month. Mentors and mentees are also required to come to meetings with an agenda and to remain focused on solving problems. A survey must also be completed at the conclusion of every meeting.
A variety of programs
In addition to mentorship, Girls in Tech presents women with opportunities to learn, engage, and collaborate through six other programs.
AMPLIFY, which is currently in its seventh year, is a startup competition aimed exclusively at female entrepreneurs. It helps provide funding and global exposure, enabling female business leaders to connect with changemakers and investors who are dedicated to supporting them.
Girls in Tech also coordinates several beginner- to intermediate-level bootcamps, such as two- to five-day workshops that provide instruction in design and coding and help women entrepreneurs to develop leadership skills. Participants learn practical takeaways, which they can draw from and apply to their professional development and business. Additionally, the bootcamps incorporate a range of researched and curated topics currently trending in today’s tech landscape.
Another Girls in Tech program is the Catalyst Conference, an annual conference series with keynote speeches, breakout sessions, and panel discussions presented by leading authorities in the business and technology sectors. Attendees gain valuable tactical skills, as well as insights to navigate the challenges and opportunities that they will encounter throughout their careers. Additionally, Catalyst Conferences allow women to connect with a community of mentors and role models while making new friends. The conference is held at tech hubs worldwide, including San Francisco, Melbourne, and London.
Girls in Tech also enables women to learn coding and design through its Global Classroom. The program’s mission is to use education to remove gender imbalances in the technology space. Each year, it helps thousands of women to build confidence in their technological skills, regardless of where they come from or what they do for a living. With lessons on areas ranging from iOS apps and WordPress websites to 3D printing and modeling, Global Classroom courses equip participants with technical skills designed to foster professional development.
A second contest-based program, Hacking for Humanity is a coding competition. During the event, designers, students, developers, entrepreneurs, scientists, mentors, and educators collaborate to develop apps that offer solutions to real-world social issues. Moreover, men and women are invited to take part in the two-day program in accordance with the Girls in Tech founding principles of equality and inclusivity.
Girls in Tech also oversees efforts to target barriers still present in the workplace for women in tech, such as gender-based pay gaps, a shortage of female role models, and gender bias that is experienced by almost 90 percent of female tech employees. The nonprofit’s Open Tech House was established to present companies with opportunities to combat and address these challenges. The program helps organizations diversify their staff by engaging and retaining female talent with the potential to promote a stronger tech workforce.
Chapters all over the world
Girls in Tech has chapters spanning multiple regions, which include Africa, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, South America, North America, and Central America and the Caribbean. In the United States, the nonprofit has chapters in 16 cities.
A comprehensive calendar of annual events
The Girls in Tech event calendar includes activities occurring across the world. Events planned for 2020 include the “Girls in Tech Coding Bootcamp: The Technical Interview” in San Francisco and the “Catalyst Conference – Girls in Tech Australia”, as well as a “Girl Boss Night” gathering focused on inclusivity and diversity in the workplace in Brisbane, Australia.