In school, Vanessa was accustomed to being outnumbered in technology classes. In fact, the ratio of men to women was sometimes as much as 70 to 5. “That really stuck with me,” she says. Adding, “I don’t want that to be the case going forward.”
Vanessa’s experience is not uncommon. Globally, 8% of women in higher education are enrolled in engineering, manufacturing and construction related courses, 5% in natural science, mathematics and statistics courses, and just 3% in information and communications technology courses (ICT)foot note1. And yet, female students often perform as well or better than male peers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects in standardized tests.foot note2 For women and tech, there is a clear disconnect between ability and opportunity.
Despite a limited pipeline of talent, STEM job demand is expected to grow by almost 19% in 2020.foot note3 To meet the demand for qualified candidates, it’s critical that women’s roles in technology-related careers are supported and fostered beyond academic institutions. Private business needs to take a leading role in making it possible for more women to follow technology career paths if they choose to do so.
Bank of America is working to do just that. Recruiting initiatives have helped increase the representation of women across internships and full-time classes to more than 40%. The employee network, Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Development (LEAD) for Women, has more than 29,000 members. The network promotes professional interactions that help attract, develop, retain and advance female professionals.
Through partnerships with organizations including Girls Who Code, National Center for Women & Information Technology and STEMettes, the bank is focused on empowering the next generation of diverse voices. During summer sessions with Girls Who Code, young women learn web design, robotics and mobile development from women engineers and entrepreneurs at Bank of America.
Diverse voices and perspectives are critical to driving innovation. As Neli notes in the video above, “I’m convinced that the solutions we can build will only get better if we have more perspectives at the table.” It makes sense then, that the people creating solutions should represent the customers and communities they are creating solutions for.
Learn more about Bank of America’s commitment to driving diversity in technology – now and into the future.