Jobs in computer science and engineering aren't just highly lucrative -- they're also crucial for national innovation. With that in mind, Oklahoma's Governor Mary Fallin, Rhode Island's Governor Gina Raimondo and Iowa's Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds are set to meet with Girls Who Code, Facebook and the consulting firm Deloitte today at the first Female Governor's Summit. Their big plan? To try and figure out how to get more girls excited about -- and jumping into -- computer science.
"I am thrilled to welcome leaders from across the country to work together on a critical issue that will affect an entire generation of young girls," said Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement. "Women remain dramatically underrepresented in technology fields. They're missing out on opportunities and the world is missing out on their ideas. We need to harness the full talents of our population and this summit is proof that our female governors are committed to addressing and closing the gap."
While there's still some debate as to whether a so-called "STEM surplus" exists, it's hard to deny that we'll need more people to flesh out an increasingly information-heavy economy. Consider these figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: between 2014 and 2024, it expects to see employment in computer occupations to grow by about 12.5 percent. That works out to something like half a million new jobs being created over the next few years, not to mention about a million job openings over the same ten year span as a result of people leaving their gigs. New research from Girls Who Code and Accenture suggests women only hold about 24 percent of technology jobs out there, so the task of filling those (probably crucial) future roles will only be helped by efforts like this to close the tech gender gap.
There's no telling how long it'll take to fully close that gap, but we could get close soon. GWC points to a new approach in which efforts to popularize STEM and computing would start in earnest with current junior high girls and continue throughout their education careers. Optimistically, that could nearly triple the number of women working in tech between now and 2025, and events like today's can only help. Fascinated? You can catch a livestream of the meeting here, starting at 10AM Pacific/1PM Eastern.