Facebook, Pinterest and Box announced a new mentorship program that will help women break into technical roles, and thrive in the industry.
The program is called WEST (Women Entering and Staying in Tech) and will provide one-on-one mentorship. Tech giants, Facebook, Pinterest and Box are piloting the program in a bid to encourage more women into technical roles.
Female employees from all three of the companies will be able to serve as mentors to women who sign up. The pilot program will launch in early 2015 in the US.
While the announcement is a step in the right direction, tech companies still have work to do themselves in boosting the number of women in the workplace.
Mentorship is very important for business. Nothing can replace the value of advice from an experienced person. However, studies show that historically women have reported a more difficult time finding mentors than men do.
Facebook and Pinterest were among many of tech companies that released diversity numbers over the summer. When you focus on the companies’ technical employees: Only 15% of the tech team at Facebook and 21% of the tech team at Pinterest are women. I think it is vital that companies follow suit by implementing programs similar to WEST.
According to research from The Targeted Initiative on Science and Mathematics Education, girls often report lower self-confidence in their abilities in science, technology, engineering and maths despite the fact there are no differences in abilities. Established women can help by being vocal and showing that there is no difference between male and female capabilities. If we want to close the gender gap, we need to tackle this confidence gap.
Sir Richard commented in an article, The importance of mentoring: “Whenever I am asked what is the missing link between a promising businessperson and a successful one, mentoring comes to mind. Giving people advice on how they can best achieve their goals is something that is often overlooked.”