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article imageApple programs focus on introducing women and students to tech

By Karen Graham     Nov 27, 2018 in Technology
Apple is launching a new program designed to address the technology industry's scarcity of women in executive and computer programming jobs, as well as free “Hour of Code” sessions at its stores around the world.
STEM education in the U.S. has typically been dominated by white males, and there have been considerable efforts to create initiatives to make STEM a more racially and gender diverse field.
Apple and other technology companies argue that one of the main reasons so many men are on their payrolls is that women traditionally haven't specialized in the mathematical and science curriculum needed to program.
However, critics disagree with this assessment - accusing technology companies of discriminating against women through a male-dominated hierarchy that has ruled the industry for decades. Apple is now trying to lessen its dependence on men in high-paying programming jobs.
A photo taken at an event called Ladies Learning Code
A photo taken at an event called Ladies Learning Code
Jon Lim (CC BY 2.0)
The majority of programmers are men
According to Apple's latest breakdown, in 2017, women filled just 23 percent of the company's technology jobs. This is only a slight uptick from the 20 percent of women in tech jobs with Apple in 2014, even though they had promised to diversify its workforce.
To address the lack of diversity in programmers, Apple announced Monday, female entrepreneurs and programmers will attend two-week tutorial sessions at the company's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. The computer camps will be held every three months, beginning in January 2019.
Apple will accept up to 20 app makers founded or led by a woman. The app maker must have at least one female programmer in its ranks to qualify. Apple will cover travel expenses for up to three workers from each accepted company. The idea behind the new camp is to keep women interested and immersed in the field, said Esther Hare, Apple's senior director of world developer marketing.
Lorrain Hariton, CEO of Catalyst, a group that fights for equal rights for women workers calls the Apple initiative a great step forward. "There a lot of talented women in technology. Hopefully, this helps set a tone for the entire industry."
New App Development with Swift Advanced Placement curriculum and certification help students build s...
New App Development with Swift Advanced Placement curriculum and certification help students build skills for future careers.
Apple
Will Apple's tutoring program make a difference?
Breaking into the "good old boys club" may be harder than Apple thinks. Google also offers training to girls and women pursuing a career in technology, but their program hasn't done a whole lot to change the dominance of men in the programming field. In 2017, only 25 percent of new hires were women, up from 21 percent in 2014, according to Google.
According to Brookings, "broad-scale progress is also going to require the tech sector to change its hiring and promotion practices to bring about a more equitable distribution of power within companies—power that can change hiring outcomes."
This will have to include more data on how they are doing on diversity and commit to time-bound goals, with built-in accountability mechanisms.
All Apple Stores will host free Hour of Code sessions from December 1 through 14.
All Apple Stores will host free Hour of Code sessions from December 1 through 14.
Apple
Apple's “Hour of Code” sessions
Also on Monday, Apple announced it was opening registration for thousands of free “Hour of Code” sessions taking place at its Apple Store locations around the world from December 1st through the 14th. This is part of a broader initiative by Apple to help more people learn to code both inside and outside the classroom.
This is Apple's sixth year of hosting daily Hour of Code sessions through “Today at Apple.” The sessions are used to primarily introduce computer science to children in grades K-12.
Apple has also introduced a new Swift Coding Club kit for teachers and students that provides the materials needed for them to start their own coding clubs at school.
New resources help students learn to code both in and outside of the classroom.
New resources help students learn to code both in and outside of the classroom.
Apple
The new kit gives students aged 8 and up the ability to collaborate, prototype apps and explore how coding can make a difference in their communities using fun activities from Swift Playgrounds and App Development with Swift.
App development with the Swift curriculum also gives high school and college students the critical skills they need to qualify for high-demand and high-skill jobs.
Starting in the next school year, Apple will release a free AP Computer Science Principles course syllabus and curriculum, giving high school students the opportunity to earn Advanced Placement (AP) credit for learning App Development with Swift.
Today more than 5,000 schools, community colleges and technical colleges worldwide are using Everyone Can Code curriculum. This is an impressive statistic, and hopefully Apple's programs will indeed, get more girls and women interested in computer technology.
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