Facebook Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. are teaming up to help women who have studied computer science and engineering land lucrative Silicon Valley jobs. The social networks told the Associated Press that they hope to help bring more women to the tech industry by developing mentoring and support groups for women on college campuses.
The tech giants say there are too few women working in technical roles. Only 15 percent of Facebook’s tech employees are female, and just 17 percent of LinkedIn’s are female, according to the AP report.
The problem stems from the dropping rates of women studying for tech jobs at the undergraduate level. Thirty-five percent of people studying computer science were women in 1985, but that number has fallen to roughly 17 percent in 2015.
“For more women to succeed in tech, there need to be more mentors, so they understand that there are people there for you,” Jessica Liu, a project manager for a software company, told the International Business Times. “There are people that want you to succeed.”
Facebook and LinkedIn would not comment on how much they were spending on the initiative, but said the programs would be offered at public and private universities around the nation.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote about the lack of female executives in the workforce in her book “Lean In: Women Work and the Will to Lead,” and created a nonprofit organization called Lean In. The group's support circles will be extended as part of the new initiative.