“Girls Who Code”: A Year-Long Immersive Program for Girls

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Executive Summary

“Girls Who Code” is a non-profit organization, which is currently at the preparation and development stage of the newest initiative. A Year-Long Immersive Program for Girls (Y.I.P.G.) is a 12-month educational and networking coding program for female high school students of color. The purpose of Y.I.P.G. is to fill the gender and racial inequality gap in the tech field through female empowerment and education. As the number of girls of color has not grown but decreased in the last couple of decades, the current situation is truly alarming. One of the most efficient solutions to engage the next generation of college graduates and IT workers. Thus, a free educational and networking program is an opportunity for hundreds of girls to feel a sense of community and find something they like. The IBM Open Source Community Grant would be a great opportunity to cover the scholarships provided to some of the potential participants. This way, 30 girls coming from low-income backgrounds could provide such girls with the necessary equipment.

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Purpose

The primary mission of “Girls Who Code” is to substantially decrease the gender gap in the technology industry. In addition, there is a need to racially diversify the sector. The purpose of Y.I.P.G. is to encourage and empower young females of color to pursue a career in tech through an educational and networking program. Hopefully, by providing opportunities to the next generation of professionals, the tech world is going to experience a rise in the number of women working as developers and data scientists. Apart from providing girls with knowledge and teaching them the basics of programming, the program attempts to ensure the participants feel a sense of community as they meet those who have the same interests, backgrounds, and aspirations.

Current Situation/Problem

Tech and Gender: Employment Gap

The tech industry benefits greatly from diversity as it allows companies to cater to different customers and demonstrate their contribution to equality in the workplace. McKinsey estimates that diverse businesses perform better on average and have higher employee engagement rates (White para. 1). Inclusive companies usually demonstrate higher levels of performance and job satisfaction, which indicates how important of a factor it actually is. However, nowadays, despite accounting for a half of the planet’s population, women remain underrepresented Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) sector. Many girls are discouraged from pursuing a degree or a career in STEM because of the existing gender stereotypes, social stigma, and a prevailing wage gap between the sexes.

Interestingly enough, the unfortunate realities of 21st century tech industry has not always been the case as thousands of women did complex calculations to aid the Allied forces during World War II (Varley para. 1). It is curious to note that working with software has been considered a female type of task until the mid-20th century. Men, on the other hand, were busy dealing with hardware and construction. Varley adds that even forty years ago, in the 1980s, “the number of American women pursuing degrees in computer science grew to 37% – nearly double the number recorded in 2015” (para. 2). The developments in the Silicon Valley during the 1990s were akin to a gold rush, which urged men to leave hardware in favor of innovative software development, pushing women out of the industry indefinitely. Through an analysis of statistics, it is apparent how much of a disadvantage female tech workers are at as they hold only 24% of computer science positions and 11% of executive seats in the Silicon Valley (Varley para. 3). The gender disparity in the technology industry is an issue that requires thorough analysis to propose an efficient approach to address the problem.

Issues Surrounding Education, Retention, and Workplace Culture

Apart from the aforementioned employment gap, there are also disparities in education, retention, and workplace culture. For instance, the National Science Foundation has published seemingly positive statistics indicating the increase in female computer science degrees over the last couple of years (White para. 4). However, if compared to the data from 1997, the number of women pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in computer science has actually decreased from 27% to 19% (White para. 4). Furthermore, when it comes to retention, “only 38% of women who majored in computer science are working in the field compared to 53%” (White para. 4). Due to the issues such as workplace discrimination and sexual harassment, which women are most often the victims of, it is much harder for female professionals to adjust and succeed in a male-dominated environment. Daley notes that “since tech is still a male-dominated sector, it’s more than likely that they’ll unconsciously view other men as having a better “culture fit” for their team than a woman” (para. 18). It is unfortunate as females working in IT often have to work much harder and make more sacrifices in order to prove themselves and receive acknowledgement.

Race as a Contributing Factor

The tech community’s gender preference is only one part of the problem the Y.I.P.G. project is trying to address. The data regarding the racial diversity in the tech industry is truly disappointing and alarming. It demonstrates the need for more African American, Asian, Latino, Native American, and Middle Eastern women to become a part of the ever-expanding technology field. After all, in order to succeed on the market and make profits, tech companies need to have people of different backgrounds on their teams. If the organization cannot ensure diversity in its own office, it is doubtful it could cater its products or services to different social-demographic groups. Despite that, it is important to acknowledge a gradual shift the United States seems to be experiencing right now in relation to the popularization of the dialogue surrounding such issues.

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To understand the fill scale of the gender and racial diversity problem the tech sector is facing, it is imperative to examine statistics. For example, out of all the computer science degrees earned in the country, only 5% belong to African American and Latina females (Kapor Center para. 3). Furthermore, Kapor Center reports that “within the technology workforce, 25% of CS professionals are female, while just 4% of these professionals are African American (3%) or Latina (1%)” (para. 3). In order to describe the experiences endured by women of color in the tech industry, the term “double-bind” can be used. The challenges associated with being a woman are accompanied by the struggles of navigating an environment dominated primarily by white people. Thus, African American and Latino females in the industry often have to deal with discrimination, stereotypes, isolation, and stigmatization. Moreover, as there are all but a few people of color, yet alone women, young girls in tech have no role models they could relate to, befriend, and rely on. Two marginalized identities women of color possess overlap, discouraging Black and Hispanic girls to leave the company or choose a different occupation entirely.

Through the detailed assessment of the problem provided above, it becomes clear that it is not enough to simply address one aspect of an issue. Projects focused exclusively on women may overlook the factors at play for females of color, including their struggles, experiences, and backgrounds. On the other hand, race cannot be the only center point as it would disregard gender-related challenges and barriers. Therefore, the proposed program targets specifically girls of color.

Specific Objectives

In regards to the specific objectives for the proposed program, there are four primary goals. First, the program aims to teach young girls of color programming basics over the course of 12 months of part-time classes and workshops. Second, the project aims to introduce high school girls to the community of like-minded individuals. Third, “Girls Who Code” a year-long immersion program will hopefully provide the participants with an opportunity to meet and connect with key employees of some of the organization’s partners. They include Walmart, AT&T, Apple, FOX, KPMG, Dell Technologies, Lyft, Amazon, and many others. Lastly, the project aims to give girls the appropriate knowledge to find internships and work with potential clients. All of this is projected to be achieved over the course of 1 year. Although each of the participants has their own personal goals coming into Y.I.P.G., those are the primary objectives, which are going to guide the program.

Solutions and Deliverables Overview

Stigma, Role Models, and a Sense of Community

The lack of women in the technology sector is a nuanced issue that requires complex, multi-dimensional solutions. Furthermore, the implementation of such solutions has to be a process, which encompasses a variety of techniques, methods, and alternative approaches. This way, authorities and non-governmental organizations can maximize the benefits of the proposed projects and initiatives. In the case of “Girls Who Code,” the focus of possible solutions is on young females. The organization believes that the only efficient way to change the future is to focus on the newest generation of high school girls, full of potential and dreams. Thus, the suggested solutions are specific to this demographic. First, it is imperative to re-imagine girls’ education and get rid of the stigma surrounding the fields of science and technology. Second, there is a need to accelerate girls’ empowerment through specialized training and education programs. Third, young females must have a place where they are accepted and can find friends with the same interests. Providing girls with a sense of community extends to highlighting the possible role models – women of color succeeding in tech. Apart from a network of peers, ensuring girls have access to influential individuals in the industry as well as company executives is crucial for their future career.

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Focus on Youth Education

The solution this proposal centers on is the organization of an educational program, which would also serve as a networking hub and a lecture hub with the industry’s most successful people. A year-long immersion program for young girls would offer online and offline classes for girls in the United States. Applicants can check their availability beforehand as they have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with a curriculum before sending out an application form. The project will include classes 2-3 times a week, weekly and monthly evaluations, as well as regular lectures from invited speakers, hackathons, and networking events. In order to be eligible, a girl must be a person of color attending 9-11th grades. Although it is important for the program to remain completely free, some students would still be able to win a scholarship. It would cover some of the equipment needed such as a laptop or certain software as well as include a monthly stipend of $300. The scholarship is going to be need-based in order to accommodate young females of color coming from low-income backgrounds.

Assessment and Deliverables

When it comes it deliverables, it is crucial to assess each of the objectives underlined in the “Specific Objectives” section. The primary focus of the program is coding, which is why the girls’ progress will be assessed using coding tests, hackathons, as well as mandatory, thorough monthly evaluations. It is expected that the average grade in a class of 100 people will be 80+, which is when the program could be considered effective in teaching the first goal. As for the second and third objectives, the preferred method of assessment is going to be a questionnaire distributed once every 3 months. Additionally, the participants will go through semi-structured interviews every 4 months. The “Girls Who Code” staff will arrange the results and present them in quarterly meetings. Finally, the readiness of girls to go through the internship and hiring process is going to be assessed using simulators and mock-interviews with actual hiring managers from the partner-companies. Each Y.I.P.G. participant will be given a rating from 1 to 10 based on these results, with an expected average to be 6+.

Timeline

Stage I. Preparation (September-December 2021)
  • Finding the partners
  • Requesting a grant
  • Finalizing a budget
  • Drafting and approving the syllabus
  • Hiring the methodologists and teachers
  • Creating a list of possible speakers; starting communication with their management
  • Assembling a team
  • Securing a location for offline events
Stage II. Marketing (January-March 2022)
  • Developing marketing and PR-strategies
  • Utilizing influencer marketing
  • Disseminating information through schools
  • Starting a social media campaign
  • Creating content to engage with potential participants
Stage III. Application (February-April 2022)
  • Designing an application form
  • Deciding on the conditions of eligibility
  • Guiding the applicants through the application process
  • Reviewing applications
  • Notifying the participants
  • Revising the list of the participants
  • Distributing “Overview” packs via e-mail and mail
  • Regulating the process of applying for and receiving a scholarship
Stage IV. Y.I.P.G. (June 2022-May 2023)
  • Foundation course (weeks 1-12)
  • Technical course (weeks 13-30)
  • Performance course (weeks 31-47)
  • Continuation course (weeks 47-52)
Stage IVa. Evaluation (June 2022-May 2023)
  • Coding tests
  • Hackathons
  • Simulators
  • Mock-interviews
  • Monthly evaluations
  • Questionnaires every 3 months
  • Program team meetings quarterly
  • Interviews every four months

Budget

The budget for this program is estimated in millions of dollars. More specifically, the project would cost $8,000,000 in order to implement it successfully. However, this grant proposal is targeted primarily at securing funding for the scholarships that certain students could potentially receive to cover additional expenses and receive a monthly stipend. As the program will deal mainly with young girls of color, it is crucial to acknowledge that some participants will come from underprivileged backgrounds. Thus, it would be harder or even impossible for them to purchase the necessary equipment to complete the courses. Out of 3 classes of participants, each group having 100 people in it, only 30 students will receive a scholarship. The one-time gift will be $1,000, with 12 monthly payments of $300, which amounts to $4,600 for each recipient. “Girls Who Code” has to ensure young women coming from lower socio-economic backgrounds are given a fair chance to succeed. Therefore, a $138,000 would be a generous gift to 30 girls, with their lives changing finally.

References

Daley, Sam. “Women in Tech Statistics Show the Industry Has a Long Way to Go.” Builtin, 2021. Web.

Kapor Center. “Diversity Data Shows Need to Focus on Women of Color.” Kapor Center. n. d. Web.

Varley, Georgina. “Women in Tech by Country.” European Women in Tech, 2019. Web.

White, Sarah, K. “Women in Tech Statistics: The Hard Truths of an Uphill Battle.” CIO, 2021. Web.

Girls Who Code

Cover Letter/Memo

Date: 12 May 2021

Grant Administrator
International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation
1 New Orchard Road
Armonk, New York 10504-1722 United States, US: 914-499-1900

Dear Grant Administrator,

“Girls Who Code” request a grant of $138,00 with the utmost respect and hope for the implementation of the Year-Long Immersive Program for Girls (Y.I.P.G.), which a 12-month coding course and networking initiative for young women of color. You can find a proposal for the project enclosed in this letter, as well as the rough estimations of the timeline and budget for the program. Our hope is that IBM will once again collaborate and partner with “Girls Who Code” to ensure the participants from lower-income backgrounds can receive scholarships for the necessary equipment and skills development.

As one of the largest non-profit organizations in the tech industry, “Girls Who Code” has already reached over half a billion people through campaigns, activism, and advocacy. The Y.I.P.G. is a one-of-a-kind initiative, which will help to re-imagine girls’ education and empower youth to perceive careers in STEM. The specific goals of the program are:

  1. to teach young girls of color some of the programming basics over the course of 1 year of online classes, lectures, and workshops;
  2. to introduce the participants to the community of like-minded individuals with similar interests and hobbies;
  3. to provide the next generation of computer and data scientists with an opportunity to meet and connect with professionals working for some of the most profitable companies in the world;
  4. to give girls the appropriate knowledge and skills to find internships and work efficiently with potential clients or employers.

The grant for scholarship support would help 30 bright and driven girls to complete a challenging programming course and meet various experts in the field. The Y.I.P.G. project is targeted specifically at women of color who are often at a disadvantage and have certain financial struggles. In order to maximize the benefits of the program, it would be great to lift the burden of purchasing a laptop or paying for application subscriptions off the shoulders of the participants and their families.

We believe that the goals of the proposed program are perfectly compatible with the mission of IBM. Your enterprise values diversity and inclusivity, which is the exact purpose of Y.I.P.G. We hope for your support to give young, under-privileged girls from minorities a chance to demonstrate their potential and possibly change the trajectory of their future.

Included along with this letter are the proposal’s executive summary and the proposal itself, which includes deliverables, timeline, budget, and other sections.

Thank you for spending time reading this letter and hopefully considering Y.I.P.G. for a grant. You may contact us via e-mail at: [email protected]

Sincerely,
First and Last Name
“Girls Who Code” Project Coordinator

Identifying the Audience

In order to write an efficient grant proposal, it is important to identify the audience and cater to their needs. On the behalf of IBM, the audience is comprised of a group of referees and grant administrators who assess proposals. On the one hand, they might not be familiar with the issue “Girls Who Code” provide a solution for. Thus, it is crucial to explain the problem in detail and include the appropriate statistics. On the other hand, the administrators are still probably experienced researchers, which is why it is better to avoid oversimplification. The audience may have certain assumptions about the technology industry or racial discrimination in the workplace. Therefore, in order to minimize the impact of personal bias on the decision-making process of the referees, it is imperative to provide figures, comparisons, and detailed data. Overall, the incorporation of as many details as possible into the proposals reduces the risk of misunderstanding or rejection based on existing assumptions.

Reviews often go through hundreds of proposals, which is why they expect them to be brief yet informational. There has to be a balance between details and conciseness. Thus, an executive summary at the beginning is a great idea to get attention and introduce readers to the main concepts throughout the proposal. In addition, IBM is a large global company, which means that all the grant applications have to follow a specific structure. The grant administrators expect certain formatting they are familiar with, which would make it easier for them to decipher and comprehend. The proposal should include a summary, a purpose, problem identification, solutions, deliverables, a timeline, and an estimated budget of the project.

In terms of needs, IBM is an enterprise that relies on public opinion and invests resources into maintains its reputation. On the one hand, since the proposal written for this assignment is unsolicited, one might consider that the request for funding is doomed from the start. However, despite the absence of any advertised need for proposals, the company as large and influential as IBM is always looking for potential projects to invest in. The primary needs of grant administrators are to find the proposal, which fits the company’s values, to ensure the request for funding is adequate, and to assess whether a potential investment is going to be highly publicized.

Reflection

Dear Professor,

Writing this proposal has been both a learning experience and a challenge as there are many nuances related to drafting an effective grant application. In regards to problem identification, the process was rather easy, as I have been following the initiatives of “Girls Who Code” for a while. The part that consumed the most time was collecting the appropriate data in the form of statistics and expert reports, which would highlight the issues of racial and gender disparity in the industry. I have found the grant online and realized it would be a perfect fit after studying IBM’s website, social media, and press in order to identify the enterprise’s goals, values, and history of giving out grants. Research into the process of proposal evaluation and grant approval at companies similar in size and scale to IBM required hours of searching and examination.

As for writing the proposal itself, the most challenging aspect was to follow the strict structure and ensure that there is a balance between details and readability. Moreover, I had to fact-check each piece of information to ensure the proposal is void of misinformation and attempts at concealing the truth. Overall, I would give my proposal a satisfactory score as I addressed all of the required aspects, remained concise and engaging, provided as many details as possible, and catered to the needs my audience might have.

Best regards,
First and Last Name

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ChalkyPapers. (2022, July 25). “Girls Who Code”: A Year-Long Immersive Program for Girls. Retrieved from https://chalkypapers.com/girls-who-code-a-year-long-immersive-program-for-girls/

Reference

ChalkyPapers. (2022, July 25). “Girls Who Code”: A Year-Long Immersive Program for Girls. https://chalkypapers.com/girls-who-code-a-year-long-immersive-program-for-girls/

Work Cited

"“Girls Who Code”: A Year-Long Immersive Program for Girls." ChalkyPapers, 25 July 2022, chalkypapers.com/girls-who-code-a-year-long-immersive-program-for-girls/.

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ChalkyPapers. (2022) '“Girls Who Code”: A Year-Long Immersive Program for Girls'. 25 July.

References

ChalkyPapers. 2022. "“Girls Who Code”: A Year-Long Immersive Program for Girls." July 25, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/girls-who-code-a-year-long-immersive-program-for-girls/.

1. ChalkyPapers. "“Girls Who Code”: A Year-Long Immersive Program for Girls." July 25, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/girls-who-code-a-year-long-immersive-program-for-girls/.


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ChalkyPapers. "“Girls Who Code”: A Year-Long Immersive Program for Girls." July 25, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/girls-who-code-a-year-long-immersive-program-for-girls/.