How Companies Like Accenture Are Getting Girls Excited About Tech

It’s not a secret that there’s a gender gap when it comes to technology. And countless research shows that getting girls involved in technology at a young age helps to break down the gender barriers.

So that’s why Reshma Saujani started Girls Who Code (GWC), an organization that seeks to get young women involved in tech. Saujani was previously the Deputy Public Advocate for New York City before starting the organization.

While Girls Who Code does teach thousands of girls, the nonprofit receives tremendous support from various companies, including professional services firm Accenture (NYSE:ACN). This summer, Accenture has hosted the GWC group for various events this summer to help develop the next generation of technology talent. Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s CTO, says that it’s especially important to promote gender diversity in the industry and that companies can loan their tremendous base of resources to help fix the problem. Accenture itself has made a $500,000 donation to GWC in services and sponsors immersion programs in three cities this summer.

Daugherty says he also has a personal investment in this as he has two daughters and says that they approach technology differently.

As well, Accenture sponsors an internship and job program for the girls once they enter college. “There is a drop off when the girls get to college” says Daughertyciting the drop off rate for women in technology and computer science based studies when they enter college. Accenture is trying to avoid that by providing a pipeline for internships and jobs in college. As well, Accenture can develop a steady stream of high performing, tech talent at the firm.

During the summer immersion programs, Accenture doesn’t just teach them about coding, but there are sessions on drones, robotics and web development among many other topics. The girls also learn essential skills like confidence building and are exposed to both male and female role models in the industry.

One of the girls participating in the program who spoke to said that participating in the summer immersion program has given her the confidence she needs to be in a coding class that’s male dominated. “Seeing that this program is dominant of girls, it makes you want to code even more” she says. The girls attending the summer immersion program are rising juniors and seniors in high school and many of them have intentions of pursuing technology related careers.

“Just because it’s male dominant, why should I just sit back and let them do the work?” she says.