Facebook, LinkedIn, Anita Borg Institute, Lean In Team Up on Lean In CS&E Chapter

The scarcity of women in the computer science and engineering sector is oft-mentioned, but how can it be successfully addressed?

LeanInCSEBanner650The scarcity of women in the computer science and engineering sector is oft-mentioned, but how can it be successfully addressed? Facebook, LinkedIn, the Anita Borg Institute and Lean In are about to take their best shot.

The four organizations announced the launch of the Lean In CS&E Chapter, which they described as a global network of Lean In Circles focused specifically on women who are studying or interested in the computer science and engineering fields.

Those women can connect with counterparts and gain access to support, resources and a robust network.

In a release announcing the formation of the Lean In CS&E Chapter, the four organizations spearheading the initiative said women made up 35 percent of computer-science majors in 1985, but that figure has dropped to 18 percent currently, adding:

Because there are so few women in these programs, when things get tough, there is no one to turn to. The result is that women don’t end up graduating with those degrees — and those that do don’t stay in the industry for long.

Facebook chief operating officer and Lean In founder Sheryl Sandberg said in a Facebook post:

Today, Facebook, LinkedIn, the Anita Borg Institute and Lean In are launching a new global chapter of Lean In Circles to support women in computer science and engineering. Learn more here: http://leanin.org/cse

Careers in computer science and engineering are great for women (and men) — the work is high-impact, flexible, well-paid and exciting. Yet female participation in these fields is plummeting; women comprised 35 percent of CS majors in 1985, but make up only 18 percent today. Women are missing out on great jobs, and the world is missing out on their great ideas.

The solution to getting more women into CS is … getting more women into CS. This is because stereotypes are self-reinforcing; computer science and engineering classes “feel male” because they are dominated by men. As one CS student told me, “There are more Davids than women in my department.”

This is where peer mentorship and Lean In Circles come in. Lean In Circles are small groups that meet regularly to support each other. Since 2013, more than 21,500 Circles have been formed in more than 97 countries and on more than 330 college campuses. We hear from women on college campuses worldwide that their Circles encourage them to speak up, enroll in classes they were afraid to take and apply for jobs even if they aren’t sure they’re ready. At the University of Tennessee, a Circle of women engineers are not just supporting each other, but also raising funds to send women to technical conferences around the U.S.

Facebook and Lean In are honored to partner with LinkedIn and Jeff Weiner and Reid Garrett Hoffman, and the Anita Borg Institute and Telle Whitney, who have already done so much to help people realize their career goals, to launch CS&E Lean In Circles. We believe that we can all come together to support women in these fields — we can change the numbers, change the stereotypes and change the world. Join us!‪ #‎leanin #‎leanincircles

Weiner said in a LinkedIn post:

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.