Why so few women in tech? Seven challenges and potential solutions.

Here is a look at some of the roadblocks women face in technology fields, and the organizations that are fighting to overcome these issues.

5. Women aren’t encouraged to be tech entrepreneurs and can face extra institutional challenges. One solution: #40Forward

Alan Diaz/File/AP
Google is spearheading the project #40Forward, which provides funding to help accelerators and incubators support female entrepreneurs.

“Women-led tech companies achieve 35% higher return on investment, and, when venture-backed, bring in 12% more revenue than male-owned tech companies,” Google recently pointed out. “Yet women are still underrepresented in startup communities. We think there are substantive ways to be more inclusive.”

Google’s response? In March, the tech company launched an initiative called #40Forward, which spread $1,000,000 over 40 tech accelerators and incubators around the world specifically to encourage programs for female entrepreneurs. Here’s what some of the programs are doing, according to Google:

  • 1871 in Chicago is launching a new accelerator program for women founded or co-founded companies that’s more flexible and family-friendly, with a customized plan for each start-up.
  • Gaza Sky Geeks in Gaza is providing rewards for women attending start-up events to demonstrate the economic value of them getting involved in tech to their families.
  • Startup Grind chapters all over the world are hosting Women Take the Stage fireside chats featuring successful women business leaders in their communities.
  • Outbox in Uganda is launching a year-long training to teach young women programming and entrepreneurial skills.
  • Astia is increasing female entrepreneurs’ access to capital by creating monthly opportunities for women-led companies to pitch to world-class investors.

Other organizations are looking beyond encouraging female representation in the tech world. For example, the Chicago-based group Ms. Tech seeks to help women build their business through funding and mentorship. Its mission is to “evolve the conversation of female [entrepreneurship] beyond the issue of ‘changing the ratio,’ and towards actively advancing the quality of their businesses, networks and resources.” Ms. Tech provides resources to help women better pitch their ideas to investors, how to dedicate time to a new venture while juggling another job, and create a robust network that can help them down the road.

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