Giving Compass' Take:

• Jessie Woolley-Wilson and Kimberly Bryantthat discuss increasing representation of women and girls of color in the STEM industry. 

Are there mechanisms in school to encourage young women of color to pursue STEM careers if they are interested? How can they be improved and expanded?

There are ways that you can encourage more women representation in the STEM industry.

At a time when the women’s movement is making headlines across the country, females remain vastly underrepresented in the industry that shapes our future: technology.

This under-representation is especially prevalent for women of color. For example, African-American women hold only three percent of computing occupations, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology.

Many organizations, including Black Girls CODE and DreamBox Learning, work to ensure that girls of color have ample opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology so they will become lifelong learners who are equipped to reshape their skills as the workforce evolves.

Two African-American, female CEOs —Jessie Woolley-Wilson, CEO of DreamBox Learning, and Kimberly Bryant, CEO of Black Girls CODE—recently sat down with each other to discuss how technology and innovation will level the playing field to increase opportunity for youth of color.

JWW: What role will coding play in the future workforce?

KB: It’s important that we prepare youth both to have access to and understand computer science since it’s inevitable that they will be users and consumers of technology in whatever career path they select. Our goal is to ensure when they enter the workforce they will be empowered with skills as technology creators and not just consumers.

JWW: How can we better support students of color, and what is technology’s role?

KB: The next step in moving the needle forward in the technology space will require a more intersectional approach to interventions and solutions to address the lack of diversity. Supporting organizations that are developing interventional models tailored to the unique needs of students of color, with a focus on cultural identity and relevancy embedded in their program models, is the key to ensuring we see sustained improvement in representation in these fields for students of color.

Read the full interview with Kimberly Bryant about women of color in tech by Jessie Woolley-Wilson at EdSurge.