Open source leads to open doors
In today’s current climate, racial equality and equity is top of mind. The tech industry has a renewed focus on access and exposure of STEM to girls in underrepresented communities. Research shows the pre-teen to teen years are critical to keep girls interested in STEM subjects.
Today’s young women need to be ready for both college and career. And one way to get them ready is through access to necessary skills like coding so the open source world can lead to open doors for all.
As a responsible steward and leader in good technology, IBM has a longstanding commitment to investing in diversity and inclusion. The IBM Open Source Community Grant recognizes a nonprofit organization dedicated to education and skill building for women, under-represented minorities, and underserved communities, while also promoting open source.
The grant includes a cash award ($25,000) and a technology award (valued at $25,000) to directly support education and career development activities. Our internal open source community votes on the winners, with Girls Who Code winning the inaugural award in October 2019, and Outreachy being awarded the second grant in April 2020.
As part of our continuing social justice efforts and commitment to racially equality, IBM is awarding our next open source community grant to Black Girls CODE. Launched in 2011, Black Girls CODE (BGC), with 15 chapter cities in the U.S. and abroad, is a transformative global movement that hosts technology-focused weekend workshops, hackathons, summer camps, and many other enrichment opportunities for more than 20,000 low-income, Black girls; or as they call themselves, Tech Divas.
Additionally, IBM has partnered with Black Girls CODE as a National Alumnae Ambassador Program Sponsor to help cultivate the next generation of STEM developers. This partnership allows Black Girls CODE and their Tech Divas to participate in two initial opportunities with IBM – one with IBM’s Call for Code for Racial Justice program and another with IBM offerings for workshops on STEM topics like quantum, artificial intelligence and hybrid cloud.
Call for Code for Racial Justice was announced on October 13 following three years of successful global programs addressing natural disasters, climate change and COVID-19. Call for Code for Racial Justice encourages the adoption and innovation of open source projects to drive progress in three key areas of focus: Police & Judicial Reform and Accountability; Diverse Representation; and Policy & Legislation Reform.
The five solutions that emerged from Call for Code for Racial Justice are being announced and made available to the open source community at the All Things Open Conference where Black Girls CODE will participate on a panel with IBM entitled “Underrepresented Communities in Code.”
The partnership between IBM and Black Girls CODE will help BGC expand on its unique, culturally sensitive STEM program for underserved girls around the world. IBM seeks to help grow the number of women of color in technology and give underrepresented girls a chance to become the future leaders in technology driving innovation.
We all have a unique opportunity to help influence young minority women to embrace their brilliance and build upon their skills. The journey to equality in STEM and closing the skills gap should be a proactive one – an open one. This is the power of inclusion.