Painting a Real-World Picture for Women’s Careers in STEM
“These young women need visible, tangible role models. They need examples of strong women thriving in technical fields – and not just one or two, they need dozens, hundreds. They need to hear our stories of success, of failure and of not giving up. We want to show them that it’s worth it–and that they belong. That’s why we organize events like these at Uber. If we can convince even just one young woman to pursue a career in STEM, then LadyEng will have achieved its goal.”
Martha, Software Engineer at Uber, Founding Member of LadyEng, Uber’s women-led engineering group
For Martha, the path to a career in tech wasn’t always easy. Growing up in Alabama, a career in technology never even seemed like a possibility: no one from her family or public school system believed that a career in software engineering could be an option for her future. That’s why Martha was inspired to form Uber’s women-led engineering group, LadyEng, and seek out opportunities to give back to young women.
Girls Who Code is an educational organization that trains and provides career advice for young women with an interest in technology. They rely on mentors from groups like Uber’s LadyEng to paint a real-world picture of women’s careers in STEM.
Last week, Girls Who Code brought a group of students to Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco to participate in a mobile engineering workshop with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Uber CTO Thuan Pham, members of LadyEng, and a group of leaders from Uber’s operations and marketing teams. The workshop at Uber is part of a 7-week summer immersion program, sponsored by The Moody’s Foundation, that focuses on topics like robotics, animation and data structures.
“Girls Who Code not only seeks to give girls the technical skills they’ll need to pursue 21st century opportunities, but expose them to role models in the field. That’s why we’re so excited to partner with a tech company like Uber. Meeting tech executives and professional women’s groups like Uber’s LadyEng not only serves as a learning opportunity, but helps girls visualize their own career as an engineer, developer, or entrepreneur.”
Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO, Girls Who Code
“One of my favorite things I get to do these days is meet with young entrepreneurs and programmers. Meeting with the young women from Girls Who Code reinforced for me the importance of mentorship and diversity in building our next generation of talented engineers and entrepreneurs.”
Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO
During the workshop, Travis and Thuan spent time with the participants and took part in a Q&A session. Along with members of the LadyEng team, they spoke to the students about the importance of building something that comes from the heart, and advised them to never be afraid to fail, as it’s not about instant success, but the journey along the way.
“Engineering has been a male-dominated profession for far too long, and it is critically important that we educate, invest in, and recruit women and girls with an interest in technical professions. Mentorship and exposure to real world experiences can truly transform a talent or interest into a lifelong career in engineering or tech. We look forward to continuing to welcome organizations like Girls Who Code behind the scenes at Uber as part of our continued commitment to fostering diversity in our engineering department.”
Thuan Pham, CTO & Women’s Diversity Employee Resources Group (ERG) Co-Executive Sponsor, Uber