Portland’s Girls in Technology Movement

Portland has a rapidly growing Women in Technology movement. With ChickTech, Women Who Code, and PDX Women in Technology, women are uniting throughout our city to push to create an inclusive culture in one of the fastest growing industries in the nation. Although we know many organizations are working to keep women in technology careers, what is our city doing to inspire girls to pursue technology careers?

The Problem

By 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be almost 4.6 million high-wage jobs in computer science fields but not enough people to fill these positions. The greatest shortage of people will be among women and underrepresented people of color. Between 2013–2015, only 18% of bachelor’s degrees in computer and information science were awarded to women with only 11% and 9% being awarded to Black and Hispanic students, respectively. As the technology industry grows in Portland and internationally, we must ensure diverse women are ready to enter the field. We must start by inspiring girls to see technology as a viable career.

Portland’s Solution

In Portland, we have countless organizations working to inspire the next generation of technology creators by providing programs for girls. Thanks to them, girls will grow up with more confidence and opportunity in technology. Read about the top 5 groups in Portland serving girls in technology and learn how you can be involved.

  1. ChickTech Portland
ChickTech inspires girls and women to pursue technology careers.

Who are they?

ChickTech’s mission is to retain women in the technology workforce and increase the number of women and girls pursuing technology-based careers. ChickTech envisions a safe, inclusive, and innovative technology future that includes equal pay, participation, and treatment of women.

What do they do?

ChickTech facilitates hands-on technology-centric events and programs to empower, support, and increase the confidence of women and girls. Through events, they build community, empower participants to see themselves as leaders, and provide networking and mentoring opportunities in the rapidly growing high tech industry. ChickTech hosts both a ChickTech: Middle School and ChickTech: High School program that focus on hands-on technology learning workshops.

What’s next?

ChickTech is hosting their largest youth event of the year, High School Kickoff, from November 10th-11th. There will be 150 high school girls learning to create hands-on technology projects. Sign up to volunteer here and to join the mailing list here.

2. Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest

Girls Inc.’s Eureka! program gives girls the opportunity to explore STEM careers.

Who are they?

Girls Inc.’s mission is to inspire girls to be strong, smart, and bold. They vision a world where girls are empowered in an equitable society.

What do they do?

Girls Inc. has a number of programs for girls, their STEM program is called Eureka!. Eureka! is a five-year Girls Inc. program that brings 8th-12th grade girls, including many who will be first-generation college applicants, onto local college and university campuses for an intensive STEM summer program. During the Eureka! program, girls get to participate in a variety of exciting and compelling activities that explore STEM — nanosciences, robotics, DNA research, forensic science — through hands-on experiences in a college campus environment.

What’s next?

Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest will be graduating its first class of Eurekans! this year. As the program enters its fifth year, they are looking for strong, smart, and bold women to serve as mentors for the girls in their programs and for internship providers. Sign up to volunteer here.

3. STEM Like a Girl

STEM Like a Girl inspires girls to develop interest and confidence in STEM.

Who are they?

STEM Like a Girl is a nonprofit inspiring girls to develop interest and confidence in STEM through hands-on activities, parent engagement, and positive female role models. They believe all girls have the power to develop their own STEM identity and become scientists and engineers when given the right tools early on.

What do they do?

STEM Like a Girl hosts Parent-Daughter Workshops that are designed to provide an introduction to STEM activities for 3rd-5th-grade girls and their parents (or other adult caregiver). SLAG aspires to make STEM activities available to ALL GIRLS and their families, in particular, those who don’t have access to other programs. Their half-day workshops are a great low-cost introduction to STEM for families that might not otherwise consider science and engineering programs for their daughters. They hope to ignite a spark in both girls and parents to continue STEM activities at home and beyond.

What’s next?

Join STEM Like a Girl at their next Parent-Daughter workshop on October 21st or February 10th! Can’t make it to a workshop? Check out their website for lots of at-home activities and other resources you can try with your daughter today.

4. App Camp for Girls

App Camp for Girls empowers youth to pursue careers in technology through camps.

Who are they?

App Camp for Girls is a nonprofit with the mission to inspire and empower girls, transgender, and gender non-conforming youth to pursue careers in technology. They envision a future of gender equality in the technology industry.

What do they do?

App Camp for Girls runs a one-week summer day program where girls, transgender & gender non-conforming youth can put their creative powers to work designing and building apps. The camps are entirely volunteer-run by women, transgender and gender non-conforming adults working in the tech industry. Throughout the week the youth develop an iOS app, design all the art, develop a marketing plan and experience all aspects of the business of software. The weekends with the teams pitching their app to a panel of experts from the field. The apps are available for download on the App Store — just search for App Camp for Girls.

What’s next?

Join App Camp for Girls mailing list here to hear updates about the 2019 Portland summer camps.

5. Saturday Academy

Saturday Academy serves youth from grades 2–12 with classes and workshops including many in STEM.

Who are they?

Saturday Academy strives to engage all motivated young people, including those from under-represented communities, in hands-on, in-depth learning by connecting them to community experts as educators and mentors. Their vision is that all interested, pre-college students in our region will have the opportunity to interact with community experts and experience professional environments in ways that assist them in developing intellectually and preparing for rewarding careers.

What do they do?

Saturday Academy’s innovative programs are open to all students in grades 2 through 12. They value all learning, and offer experiences in many disciplines. They emphasize science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) because these fields are critical for children’s careers and their fast pace of change is difficult to address in traditional school settings. Saturday Academy has provided instruction to more than 170,000 students throughout Oregon and SW Washington.

What’s next?

Register for fall workshops and classes with Saturday Academy! There are classes in robotics, engineering, and computer building that all start in early November. Learn about being an ASE intern in summer 2019, the application will open in late November.