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Changing the Game for Young Women in STEM – by Jeff Weiner, CEO at LinkedIn

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One of the most challenging issues facing the technology industry today is the gender imbalance in technical roles, particularly at the leadership level.

From the classroom to the boardroom, women remain significantly underrepresented in engineering, math and the sciences and it’s moving in the wrong direction. In 1985, women made up 35 percent of all computer science graduates in 1985; today, they’re just 18 percent. Data from LinkedIn shows that women comprise just 30 percent of the entire workforce in the technology industry independent of function. Only 15 percent of software engineering roles in the technology industry are held by women.

As an industry, we know we can do better in terms of diversity, inclusion, and ensuring our collective workforce more accurately represents the members and customers we serve. And this isn’t just a problem for tech companies. It’s a problem for everyone. Without balanced working groups that reflect the breadth of perspective among all people, we’re not able to develop our best ideas and advance innovation that can generate economic growth. Additionally, until we figure out how to attract and keep women in technology roles for the long term, half our population will continue to miss out on some of the most financially lucrative careers in expanding industries. The number of U.S.-based coding jobs alone is set to grow 30 percent by 2020, which is twice the rate of general job growth.

For me, this isn’t just a professional matter, it’s a personal one as well. Growing up, my dad would always tell me I could do anything I set my mind to. I tell the same thing to my two young daughters. I’d like them to grow up in a world where those words ring as true for them as they did for me.

What we’ve learned over the past two decades is that to help women be successful and blaze a trail as a minority in certain workplace environments such as Tech, they need to be supported, mentored and nurtured by peers and advocates — just as their male counterparts have been historically. This kind of culture change takes concerted effort over time.

That’s why LinkedIn is excited to partner with Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In and the Anita Borg Institute to launch a new global chapter of Lean In Circles to support women in computer science and engineering. Our aim is to give young women a support structure to help them navigate the important turning points and decisions of their university and early professional careers.

This effort is part of a broader commitment for LinkedIn. Last year, we were one of several tech companies to increasingly focus on the persistent gender imbalance by publishing our workforce diversity numbers for the first time. We firmly believe that transparency is the first step toward a permanent solution. We’ve also invested in organizations like MentorNet, a national non-profit that provides tech students with access to high-quality mentoring in their field.

LinkedIn is uniquely positioned to help fix the gender imbalance in the tech industry and leadership. Our professional networking platform can track trends and identify insights to determine how to invest to get more women pursuing and persevering in science and technology careers. CS&E Lean In Circles is a great start, and you can learn more here: http://leanin.org/cse.

Source: LinkedIn Post

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