Women supporting other women: How GirlCrew & Techtonica help diversify STEM
Faced with many barriers throughout their lives, women and other minority groups are often effectively locked out. With GirlCrew, you can find your squad without even leaving the house. In this article, Áine Mulloy explains why she helped found GirlCrew and how it helps empower women through Techtonica to diversify STEM from ground up.
There is a problem in the tech sector, and we all know it. Diversity has become a bit of a buzzword, but it’s important that companies actually step up to the plate when it comes to company culture and the hiring process. While for current employees the seeds of change do seem to be coming, there is also a gap when it comes to skills.
Faced with many barriers throughout their lives, women and other minority groups are often effectively locked out. In order to bridge this, gap grassroots organisations have grown in an attempt to fix this issue from the ground up. But they cannot do this alone.
The international community GirlCrew, is one example of a tech company who is putting their mission at the fore of what they do. Operating under the motto “Be A Friend. Be An Ally. Be The Brave.” This network has recently launched a new partnership with Techtonica to help empower low-income women, and femme-adjacent individuals.
GirlCrew started initially as a Tinder hack, but it’s now active in over 50 cities worldwide – including San Francisco, New York, Austin, and Seattle. This network for women reconnects individuals in their local areas through knowledge sharing and events, but also links members in with the global GirlCrew system. Among their members, is the founder of Techtonica, Michelle Glauser.
Based in San Francisco, Techtonica provides training and support to low-income women in the Bay Area. The organisation is special as not only do they classify low-income as those living on less than $50,000pa (most non-profits set that at $24,000pa), but child care, equipment, and a daily stipend are all provided during the six-month program. And it’s totally free. In order to help them fulfill their mission GirlCrew has partnered with the initiative to ensure that each month $1 from every GirlCrew Premium membership goes directly to Techtonica.
For GirlCrew co-founder, Áine Mulloy, the initiative was a no-brainer. “We’re very fortunate to have an outlook that is about connecting and helping others. We really try our best to put that at the center of what we do, so partnerships like this are a reminder that everyone has a part to play. And no matter what size your company, helping others should always come into play. I’m over the moon that we get to work with organisations such as Techtonica to help make a real impact, in a tangible way.”
Michelle Glauser had this to say about the new partnership and what it means to have women supporting other women. “It means so much! When companies are willing to support us, we’re able to support the locals most in need in multiple ways—you’re essentially putting them on a successful pathway into tech by building their networks, giving them hope, providing stipends that allow them to focus on learning, supplying them with their first work experience, and educating their future colleagues.”
By training women, not only is this partnership helping to increase the skills in the individual, but it also has a wider impact on the family. Studies show that when there is more equitable access to resources and information low income families can be lifted out of poverty. While this is mostly widely seen in developing countries, it is equally important in developed regions. With a gargantuan pay gap in Silicon Valley, more needs to be done to help diversify STEM from the ground up.
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