It probably comes as no surprise that Women’s Equality Day is considered a big deal at Girls in Tech. But what actually is it? And why does this annual day of commemoration feel just a little bit bittersweet?
What is Women’s Equality Day, anyway?
On August 26th each year, the US recognizes this national day, which marks the date in which women were given the right to vote in 1920. The choice to observe a national day was approved in 1973, and ever since the President of the United States has issued a proclamation about it each year.
Around the country, organizations and public spaces run Women’s Equality Day events every year, designed to recognize the achievements of women and the ongoing push for gender equality.
So what are we actually celebrating?
The fact that women are treated equally to men, right?
We can’t overlook some brutal facts that prove women are not treated equally, still:
- Women are more likely than men to have no retirement savings –– about 50% of women aged 55 to 66 have no personal savings compared to 47% men. (It’s why we believe that learning basic personal finance skills is so important!)
- The gender-based wage gap in the United States has narrowed, but remains –– national median earnings for full-time workers in the past 12 months was $53,544 for men, compared to $43,394 for women. (And it’s even been proven that women earn less after having children, while men earn more.)
- Women represent the majority of workers in several essential pandemic-related occupations –– and despite being disproportionately affected by COVID-19, they earned 82 cents to every dollar compared to men during the pandemic.
And that’s before we even talk about glaring inequalities such as the right to bodily autonomy (presented by the Roe vs Wade overturning).
While women now have the right to vote, own property, and more – we’re still far from where we’d like to be.
In the technology industry too, we’re still struggling to gain ground.
- Women are making gains in STEM occupations, but are still underrepresented, with making up nearly half of the US workforce but only 27% of STEM workers
- Only 9% of companies worldwide have at least 1 woman in a senior management position.
- 45% more women leave the tech industry, more frequently and earlier than men.
- 28% of women leaving the tech industry cite a lack of career growth opportunities as an integral reason for their departure from tech.
So what are we actually celebrating on Women’s Equality Day, if not the actual achievement of equality?
Women’s Equality Day is about celebrating our progress so far, and acknowledging the ongoing efforts of both women and men who are pushing for more progress and fighting hard to close the gap.
This is a day in which every organization and individual has a role to play in bringing to light the inequalities that women face. And that includes Girls in Tech.
A midyear reminder of Girls in Tech’s mission
At Girls in Tech, we appreciate the opportunity Women’s Equality Day brings to reflect on how we’re educating, empowering and honoring women in the tech space.
Our aim is to see every person accepted, confident and valued in tech — just as they are. Our dream is to see more women involved in shaping the tech industry, to flood boardrooms with more female leaders, and to ensure that every little girl who dreams of working in STEM has role models to look up to.
Here are some ways we’ve been pursuing our mission so far in 2022.
How we’re educating women in tech
Our programs are designed to give women the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to enter the tech industry, and do incredible work.
- Hackathons – We’ve run two hackathons this year already, asking our community to design solutions for the hard-of-hearing community, and for the crisis in Ukraine. This gives women real-world experience so they can grow their skills and confidence.
- Python Machine Learning – This course gave women the opportunity to upskill in Machine Learning to potentially propel themselves into a new career or role.
- Design Thinking Academy – Our inaugural Girls in Tech Academy course is helping women build design thinking skills that they can apply to their daily work.
- Design Thinking Bootcamps – We’ve also run bootcamps in cities across the country, giving women the opportunity to learn design thinking practices in-person and build their skills for on the job.
- AWS Scholarship program – We’ve partnered with AWS to drive women towards their Machine Learning Scholarship program, so more women can be involved in developing the AI technology that’s shaping the world.
How we’re building women’s careers
While professional development and practical skills will help women advocate for themselves and have the necessary knowledge to get jobs and grow, Girls in Tech is also committed to providing more direct career support and opportunities.
- Mentorship Program – This program pairs women in tech with experienced mentors who share wisdom, insights and motivation.
- Startup Challenge – Our annual Startup Challenge connects female founders to investors, mentoring and funding, all while prompting the development of their business ideas.
- Digital Career Fair – This virtual event connects job hunters and the ‘career curious’ to hiring managers at top tech companies, for real discussions and a more streamlined introduction to new opportunities.
- Jobs Board – Girls in Tech hosts the premier jobs website for women in tech, listing opportunities at global companies that boast an inclusive approach to hiring.
How we’re connecting women with community
Finally, we can’t go past the impact that community has on women’s development.
It was the gathering of women together in the 1840s to discuss women’s rights that led to suffragists winning us all the right to vote. Community inspires us, makes us feel heard, and incites change. That’s why Girls in Tech is committed to bringing women together in various ways across the year.
- Girls in Tech Nashville Conference – We’re so excited for our annual conference where we’ll hear from inspiring speakers, have meaningful conversations, and learn new skills amongst our community.
- Girls in Tech Podcast – This is where we share big ideas, important conversations and industry trends when we can’t be in person. Tune in to hear from the brightest minds in the industry.
- The Girls in Tech Global Instagram – This channel brings together women and changemakers from all over the world. We spark insightful discussions, share exciting news, and gather as one to journey as women in tech together.
This Women’s Equality Day, we thank those who have paved the way for us, and we encourage the next wave of female trailblazers to step up, speak out, and continue this fight for equality. We’re in this together.