(WASHINGTON, DC) – Tonight, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Representative Susan Davis (D-CA) hosted a discussion and movie screening on the enormous gender gap that exists in computer science related jobs. Senator Shaheen and Representative Davis were joined by Robin Hauser Reynolds, director of the documentary CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap which was shown at the event, and United States Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith.
“For our country to remain the global leader in technology development, it’s absolutely critical that we inspire, encourage and support more Americans to learn to code, especially women and girls who are woefully underrepresented,” said Shaheen. “The age of smartphones, apps and the Internet of Things is changing every part of our daily lives and women shouldn’t be shut-out from this promising economy. This event once again put a spotlight in the halls of Congress on the enormous gender gap in computer science related fields of study and employment. By closing the technology gender gap, we can expand economic opportunity for women and make sure that our nation’s technology economy lives up to its full potential.”
"Innovation is truly one of America’s strengths and has established us as a world leader," said Davis. "Increasing the number of women who are contributing to that innovation will only make us stronger economically and expand technological and scientific advances and discoveries. We can and must do better to encourage girls to seek careers in computer science and other tech fields."
“Research shows that diverse teams make better products and companies with diverse leadership have better financial results. The United States needs all of our talent to bring their innovations and entrepreneurship to the table,” said Smith. “The good news is, we are seeing promising breakthroughs in the organizations who have set goals for stronger inclusion. When leaders from venture firms, corporations, and educational institutions prioritize scaling these working solutions within their own organizations, diverse teams will grow and thrive, which means better products and greater prosperity for America. ”
“To change the number of women and people of color in tech we first need to change the stereotype of a computer scientist,” said Reynolds. “Coding can be creative and collaborative; it can be part of fashion, medicine, filmmaking and architecture. Creating a diverse team of programmers will lead to the creation of products that will serve a greater breadth of humanity. It's absolutely essential for innovation that programming becomes diverse. “
Tech jobs are growing three times faster than our colleges are producing computer science graduates. By 2020, there will be one million unfilled software engineering jobs in the USA. Yet, women are being largely left out of this rapidly growing industry, representing only 25 percent of technology jobs in the U.S.