10 Coding Organizations Taking On the Tech Gender Gap
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Reviewed by Laila Abdalla
Computer and information technology occupations continue to see high demand, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects these jobs will grow by 11% from 2019-2029 — almost three times faster than the average projected growth for all jobs over that period. Additionally, workers in this field tend to earn lucrative salaries, with median annual wages above $90,000.
Unfortunately, there are many barriers making it difficult for women to enter the professional tech world. Potential roadblocks include relatively low retention rates in STEM fields after graduation, experience and education gaps, a male-dominated workplace culture, and an overall lack of support, mentors, and role models.
According to information from the National Center for Women & Information Technology, women make up 57% of the professional workforce, but they only account for 25% of computing roles.
There are many benefits to increasing the number of women in tech. For example, a more diverse workforce often leads to increased innovation and ingenuity — two crucial factors in the IT world.
From a business perspective, greater diversity on a team can also lead to increased revenue. Additionally, growing the pool of women role models in the industry could have a cascading effect for future generations, helping make it easier for girls interested in STEM to access a tech career.
Coding Organizations for Women in Tech
There are many coding organizations that work to support women in tech. They may provide resources to help women grow their careers, enhance their skills, and find mentorship and sponsorship opportunities. Several of these groups also aim to help nonbinary and transgender individuals. Additionally, many resources are free and can be accessed virtually.
The list below describes several popular coding organizations for women who are interested in tech. Reach out to an organization directly for more information.
ChickTech is a national nonprofit organization devoted to promoting and building an inclusive environment for people of marginalized genders who work in tech. Initiatives include everything from advocating for equal pay to providing support in the workplace.
Available programs are designed to aid people with various levels of experience, from high school students to working professionals. Individuals can enroll in bootcamps, visit an online membership platform that brings women in tech together, and attend conferences to build community and engagement.
ChickTech's Advancing the Careers of Technical Women series features regional one-day conferences and national week-long events. Participants can develop technical skills and take advantage of professional growth opportunities, including career coaching, jobs fairs, and interactive sessions.
Coffee & Coded
Founded in 2018, Coffee & Coded provides educational events for women in tech. These events occur monthly, with the goal of building community and bolstering tech skills.
The organization's team of speakers and instructors include women in tech professions at high-profile companies like Google, Goldman Sachs, and American Express.
Coffee & Coded hosts events throughout the year in New York City. Previous events have covered topics like HTML and CSS for beginners, leveraging your skills to get a job, and being authentic on social media.
These events are often held in partnership with tech education companies, like Galvanize and Flatiron School. Events are led by local tech professionals and — of course — come with coffee.
Django Girls provides free training in Python and Django, posts online tutorials, and hosts events to inspire women to embrace tech.
Django Girls seeks to make tech more approachable, hosting one-day workshops that give participants the tools, resources, and support they need to dive into a tech project. Each workshop — typically filled with 30-60 women — includes an opportunity for participants to build their own web application using HTML, CSS, Python, and Django.
More than 23,000 women have attended these events, which have taken place in nearly 540 cities across the world. Participants must register ahead of time, and events are trans-inclusive and open to all women.
Girl Develop It
Girl Develop It (GDI) provides inclusive opportunities for women and nonbinary people to enhance their tech skills. The organization does this by hosting classes, project work, and events.
Coursework includes both one-off classes and multi-session training opportunities. Classes cover a variety of topics, including soft skills development like career self-advocacy. Technical offerings delve into subjects like HTML/CSS, web accessibility, user experience design, and web development.
GDI offers online training opportunities and has five chapters across the United States, including in Chicago, the District of Columbia, Detroit, New York City, and San Francisco. Students can pay for events and training on an individual basis or through GDI's membership program, which starts at about $40 a month.
Girls in Tech
Girls in Tech is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 with a mission to eliminate the tech gender gap. The group has more than 50 chapters worldwide and more than 60,000 members.
The organization hosts a startup pitch competition, which has helped fund more than 5,000 entrepreneurs. Additionally, almost 60,000 participants have taken part in the Girls in Tech Hackathon series and more than 75,000 individuals have participated in the organization's coding, design, and startup bootcamps.
The Girls in Tech membership program is free and includes access to live and virtual events. Members can also find a professional mentor in the field and search for jobs on the Girls in Tech job board.
Lesbians Who Tech
Lesbians Who Tech's mission is to connect queer women, nonbinary individuals, and transgender individuals working in tech. The group does this by overseeing a network of industry professionals and increasing the visibility of diverse tech leaders.
The group's annual summit brings together more than 40,000 tech professionals for five days of leadership development, skill building, and networking. Past summit speakers include Stacey Abams, Kamala Harris, and Megan Rapinoe.
Summits have covered issues like accelerating blockchain innovation, creating meaningful customer experiences using AI, and digital privacy. The summit is open to Lesbian Who Tech members, friends, and allies, and offers both paid and free ticket options.
MotherCoders helps prepare and position moms for entry into the professional tech world. Individuals can participate in a part-time, nine-week tech training program — complete with childcare, events, and workshops. These tech camps are held in New York City and San Francisco and include a mix of reading, coding exercises, and lectures. Participants also visit a tech company.
Coursework covers the tech landscape, front-end web development, and networking with peers and tech professionals. Prospective students must have a college degree to apply.
PyLadies provides a space for women who work with the programming language Python. It is an international mentorship group with chapters around the world — PyLadies boasts community members in six continents. Membership is free.
The organization seeks to help female Python professionals become more active in the tech community by promoting outreach events and hosting education opportunities, such as one-day skill-building workshops.
Rails Girls provides useful resources and helps build a community for women in tech. The organization was created in Finland, but now has a global reach. Previous events have been held around the world in places like Ghana, Japan, and the United States.
Participants can enhance their tech skills through sketching, prototyping, and foundational programming. Local groups can also hold their own events, and Rails Girls provides guides and instructions on how to get active within the community.
Women Who Code
Women Who Code's mission is to empower women in technology and inspire women to pursue tech careers. One of the organization's main goals is to close the gender gap in tech completely.
Women Who Code members gain access to a network of tech professionals, and the organization hosts more than 1,900 events each year. Members can also search the Women Who Code job board and explore a large repository of coding resources like tutorials, blogs, and webinars.
Frequently Asked Questions About Coding Organizations for Women
According to PayScale data from June 2021, about 15% of software developers identify as female.
All coding organizations are different. For many, you don't need any previous experience in the field — the overarching goal of many groups is to increase the number of women in tech. However, be sure to check out individual organizations for specific requirements. MotherCoders, for instance, requires members to have a college degree.
Different coding organizations come with different fees. Some give access to many services at no cost, but provide special features for those who pay a fee and join as members. For instance, Girls Develop It has many free services, but also offers a membership program that costs $480 per year.
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Laila Abdalla obtained her Ph.D. in English from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. For over 21 years at Central Washington University, she taught undergraduate and graduate courses in her subjects, along with classes on successful writing. Laila has devoted her teaching and leadership to matters of equity, diversity, and inclusion. She is committed to her students' complete experience, raising awareness of BIPoC issues in language, community, and culture. She leads with equity in management and nonprofit volunteering, and continues to develop her own understandings of these complex issues in her lived experiences.