General Motors has announced a new partnership with education nonprofit Girls Who Code that’s intended to encourage more young women to pursue STEM subjects. The auto manufacturer will offer up a $250,000 grant to help fund after-school STEM clubs in schools, universities, and community centers.
“Becoming an engineer paved the way for my career,” said GM CEO Mary Barra in a statement posted to the company’s website. “It’s one of the reasons I am passionate about promoting STEM education to students everywhere. Partnering with Girls Who Code is one more step in GM’s commitment to inspiring and growing diverse future leaders.”
Barra also noted that some of GM’s top female leaders will spend time with students at today’s launch event, offering advice and demonstrating the potential rewards of this kind of education. She and Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani will host thirty students for a schedule of activities to get the new partnership underway.
GM and Girls Who Code are pursuing this collaboration is response to the decreasing proportion of women in jobs related to computing, even as the field continues to grow. In 1995, 37 percent of the computing workforce was comprised of women, but today that has shrunk to 24 percent.
“While we’re proud of our progress to date in closing the gender gap in technology, our work is just getting started,” said Saujani. “It’s never been a more urgent time to help our girls succeed in technology and engineering.”
To that end, free activity sessions and mentorship will be offered to young women who are currently attending middle school or high school in underserved communities. The hope is that Girls Who Code’s clubs program will encourage attendees to pursue degrees in technology and engineering further by instilling a passion for STEM at an early age.