Women in technology is a hot topic in the news today. As a Staffing professional for Microsoft, and leader of the Seattle Girl Geek Community, I am always eager to read about what educators and companies are doing to encourage and promote women in science related jobs. While major strides have been made in advocating women in science, unfortunately we still face a decline in women pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) degrees and staying in STEM related careers. Although nearly half of young people entering law, medicine and science in the United States are women, an alarming international trend shows a decline in the number of women majoring in computer science since the mid-1980s. Some of the statics to support the noted trends are the following:
- In 1985, women earned 37 percent of computer science bachelor’s degrees in the United States. By 2008, this share had dropped to 18 percent. At major research universities, the figure is only 12 percent.
- Studies show an ongoing exodus of women from high-tech companies at mid-career.
Though there are relevant and important speculations as to why these issues exist, many educators and major companies have introduced strategic programs to encourage women to pursue and stay in STEM related jobs. Microsoft is an industry leader in driving solutions to address this problem, and is well known for attracting women to high tech careers. To achieve this reputation, the company has introduced a wide range of initiatives. Here are just a few of many of the amazing programs Microsoft has launched:
Outreach: The Women’s Resource Group at Microsoft has created programs that provide girls with opportunities to interact with today’s technology and learn about careers in the high-tech industry. Some of these programs include:
- DigiGirlz, our signature program offered at multiple locations globally offers a one-day event and high-tech summer camp for high school girls.
- Microsoft’s summer internship program for high school students
- Through programs including IGNITE in Seattle and SciTechGirls in Europe, Microsoft employees reach out to their communities to mentor students, inform them about the field and dispel stereotypes.
Role models: Recruiting qualified technical women and highlighting role models. Here are a few examples of the amazing women I partner with in the Online Services Division:
Benefits, networking and professional development: Whether you choose a management role, dive deep into a technology, or want to explore multiple professions, you’ll find everything you need to drive your career at Microsoft. Here are just a few of many amazing resources Microsoft offers:
- Microsoft has built women’s networks to help women grow professionally and personally. For example, The Women at Microsoft group organizes seminars, speaker series, networking events, mentoring and volunteer opportunities. Its biggest event is the Women’s Leadership and Development Conference. Every year this conference attracts more than 4,500 employees!
- Established training and mentor programs.
- A variety of distribution lists and information web sites for Microsoft employees to help women share information and build connections across organizations and geographical locations.
- Microsoft offers unparalleled breadth and depth of career opportunities and the ability to grow your career. You can work for a well-known product used around the globe or pioneer a startup that could be the next big thing. The opportunity to change jobs within the company or learn new skills is common and encouraged!
Again, this is just a high level summary of some of the resources and programs Microsoft has initiated over the years to promote women in science. I am proud to work for a company that truly recognizes the value of diversity, supports career development, and rewards great work.
If you are interested in talking with me about jobs with the Online Services Division, or careers with Microsoft, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find me here: or here.