In a bid to boost the dwindling numbers of women studying computer science and engineering, social networking giants Facebook and LinkedIn have clubbed hands for a collaborative initiative of bringing mentoring and support programs at colleges and other educational institutions.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and LinkedIn CEO Jeffrey Weiner on Friday announced the joint initiative, hoping this will eventually help in filling thousands of attractive Silicon Valley jobs which have been long dominated by men.
Facebook and LinkedIn will jointly organize support and mentoring programs at colleges in order to get more female students enrolled in technology courses and make their presence felt in the technology jobs market, particularly for both companies.
According to Facebook’s 2014 diversity figures, 15 percent of tech jobs’ employees and 31 percent of its all employees are women.
On the other hand, LinkedIn Corp has 17 percent of its tech employees and 39 percent of overall employees in the female category.
The gloomy representation of women employees is not the only case for Facebook or LinkedIn, but almost all the Silicon Valley companies share similar demographics.
Telle Whitney, Anita Borg Institute president and chief executive official, said more diversity among the professionals means greater innovation in technology.
Anita Borg Institute has also partnered with Facebook and LinkedIn which in the collaborative initiative.
“Think about it. If everybody who creates a product looks the same, you know the results won’t be nearly as interesting. We want for the sake of our future to have women involved in all the projects that will change our lives,” Whitney said.
Facebook’s Sandberg has unveiled an international conversation about the poor representation of women at the powerful positions her 2011 book titled “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead”.
“A lot of our consumers, at least half, sometimes more, are women. We build a product that gives people a voice. We know we can’t build a product for the world unless our teams reflect the diversity of the people who use the product,” she said.
Batting for the need of gender equity for better serving the users, Weiner said, “To limit the perspective of the people building our product and services, if that’s too narrow, it’s going to lead to suboptimal outcomes.”
The percentage of female enrollments in the undergraduate programs of computer science peaked at 35 percent in 1985, but now has fallen down to nearly 17 percent.