The tech field is known for pioneering a host of innovations. However, one thing has remained largely unchanged over the past 20 years—the percentage of women entering fields like engineering and computer science. Intel wants to fix that.
The chipmaker and industry giant is rolling out a new program called Million Girls Moonshot that aims to bring one million women into engineering and computer science. It is partnering with the STEM Next Opportunity Fund and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to launch the movement.
According to the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), the percentage of women receiving engineering degrees has only increased from 18 to 21 in the last two decades. The data is even worse for computer science. Over the last 20 years, the same percentage has decreased from 27 to 19 percent.
The Million Girls Moonshot project aims to close that gender gap over the next five years by encouraging more girls to pursue careers in STEM fields.
Pia Wilson-Body, president of the Intel Foundation, says, “Girls are the future innovators, engineers and entrepreneurs. They have the potential to change the world. The Million Girls Moonshot will provide opportunities to ignite a lifelong passion for STEM. By investing in girls, we empower them to become the innovators our society needs, and we’re proud to be a leader in this movement.”
Intel’s efforts will be amplified by partner organizations that support the movement since it takes a variety of methods to reach that many young minds.
The Million Girls Moonshot project will focus on “engaging, equity-focused STEM programs and mentorships to inspire and support girls pursing STEM in high school and beyond.”
Another key area of focus will be after-school programs that encourage learning and discovery. Intel will help fund a variety of programs in collaboration with the Mott Foundation. Students will be able to interact with hands-on, immersive content from Intel, NASA, and employees in current STEM positions.
Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation, says, “The Million Girls Moonshot harnesses the spirit of innovation—in philanthropy and in afterschool programming—to reimagine our nation’s next generation of engineers, problem-solvers, builders and makers.”
He adds, “We’re delighted that the Intel and Moore Foundations will join us in an effort to promote gender equity by empowering girls through STEM learning opportunities.”
A Critical Mission
In the U.S. alone, economic projections suggest that there will be one million more STEM positions than the country can fill over the next decade. Ensuring that they are taken by a diverse workforce is key to solving the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world.
Janet Coffey of the Moore Foundation says, “This We’re delighted that the Intel and Moore Foundations will join us in an effort to promote gender equity by empowering girls through STEM learning opportunities.”
Ensuring that women have ample opportunities to pursue STEM fields will be a top priority in the next several years. Intel’s Million Girls Moonshot initiative will help lead the way.