I had to sigh when I read these statistics yet again. Only three venture-backed companies were made up of all female teams in 2013, and the per capita income of blacks in Silicon Valley dropped 18% between 2009 and 2011. In addition, women in Silicon Valley make 49 cents to every dollar a man makes in comparison to the 77 cents to one dollar income disparity in the rest of the country. (These numbers are from the Silicon Valley Index published by Joint Venture Silicon Valley and The Silicon Valley Community Foundation.)
Utilize the national network of science centers and museums to raise awareness and broaden access for girls underrepresented in STEM.
Develop linkages between organizations with the common purpose of increasing the pipeline of minority female engineers.
Facilitate translation of gender and diversity research into practice through a uniﬁed training program.
Provide ongoing services, access to program materials, and tools to broaden the ability of science centers to provide relevant and engaging programming for girls.
Girls Rise. net has partnered with:
California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA
Connecticut Science Center, Hartford, CT
COSI, Columbus, OH
Explora, Albuquerque, NM
Maryland Science Center, Baltimore, MD
Miami Science Museum, Miami, FL
Kentucky Science Center, Louis
NYSCI, Queens, NY
OMSI, Portland, OR
Saint Louis Science Center, St. Louis, MO
Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center, Shreveport, LA
The California Academy of Science has an internship program for underrepresented groups in STEM fields. The Connecticut Science Center has STEM workshops that fit into the core curriculum, and the Miami Science Museum has a girls engineering competition every year. Each museum on this list and others throughout the country have seen a need for these types of programs and filled it either through the partnerships with Girls Rise.net, or on their own to service the neighboring community.
Another group to look at is http://www.blackgirlscode.com, a nonprofit organization that teaches programming skills to young women of color and http://shetechphilly.com with study resources and an active calendar of events based in Philadelphia. Tell Me More host Michel Martin also engages innovative women in tech around the Twitter hashtag #NPRWIT. The movie “Girl Rising” about breaking the cycle of poverty and poor education for all girls is currently streaming on Netflix.
Hanan Abdel Meguid of Arab Women Rising says it well. “I believe that technology is not, for us, another fluff or luxury; it’s an essential creative tool. . .we use the scarcity of our resources to maximize our potential.” Let’s continue to offer and promote STEM for minority women and girls!