On Women’s Equality Day, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) visited Ada Developers Academy, a training program for women who want to become software developers, to discuss women’s equality in the technology industry.
“Women’s Equality Day is about celebrating the ratification of the 19th Amendment and highlighting the work that remains for women’s full equality. This fight is not over,” DelBene said. “Women across our country – whether they are coders or professional soccer players – are being paid a fraction of what their male counterparts make and remain dramatically underrepresented in high-wage fields like technology. We must ensure more women can break into traditionally male-dominated fields, and that women have access to the highest levels of leadership once they get there.”
DelBene, who had a career in technology for two decades before being elected to Congress, has cosponsored legislation, such as the STEM Gateways Act (H.R. 840), to encourage more young women to enter science, technology, engineering and math fields.
Today, less than 25 percent of students taking the Advanced Placement (AP) computer science test are girls, and less than 20 percent of computer science undergraduates are female. Among women who do break into STEM fields, more than 54 percent drop out before they reach upper management positions because of the unique challenges and pressures women face.
DelBene met with Ada Developers Academy students to discuss access to 21st century job skills, such as coding, and how to increase the gender diversity in technology careers. The Ada Developers Academy is a year-long, tuition-free program that trains women and non-binary people for jobs in software development. The program has a 97 percent job placement rate and graduates’ average salary is $87,000 a year.
“At Ada, we are committed to creating equitable, accessible opportunities for women and non-binary gendered people to enter the tech industry,” said Cynthia Tee, executive director of the Ada Developers Academy. “In addition to the technical skills, we also focus on building the leadership and self-advocacy skills necessary to make a successful transition into a male-dominated field.”