Mediaocean is Granting $25k Scholarships to Women in STEM

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The scholarship is open to current undergraduate and graduate students pursuing STEM degrees in the U.S.

By Maria Pousa (SVP Global Marketing, Mediaocean)

There are two critical numbers you should know about the tech industry: 25 percent and 1.4 million. The first refers to the percentage of women currently employed in the tech industry. And the second to the amount of computing job openings that the U.S. Department of Labor estimates will be available by 2018. This is one of the fastest growing U.S. industries, and yet we do not have enough talent to fill 60 percent of those jobs.

In fact, there has been a 50 percent decline in the number of women studying computer science since 1985. That year, 37 percent of computer science graduates were women, versus 18 percent today. And by the time that 18 percent reaches mid-level, 56 percent of those technical women leave their jobs.

Today we are going through a digitization of our business processes, manufacturing plants, institutions, and life in general. And yet, more women are pulling away from the opportunity to shape the future of our software-driven society and high paying technical jobs. So, what will it take to encourage women to learn technology and join the fastest growing sector of our global economy?

The answer is complex. In fact there are multiple complex answers for this question. Depending on who you ask, it ranges from education, to toys, to mentorship, and everything in between. Some, 17 percent of Americans nonetheless, still think that robots are for boys and dolls are girls. But let’s not focus on them, because the vast majority of society believes that more women in tech would lead to a stronger economy (70 percent) and a greater household income (82 percent).

Companies such as Google, Facebook,and LinkedIn have been making a big push to support women in the past years. We’ve even seen the U.S. government take a stand and begin working to increase female participation in STEM fields. These initiatives are small steps in the right direction, but it is clear that it will take a village to enact change. And that means that medium and small businesses must get involved and participate.

Mediaocean is one of those medium-size businesses, and we know that diversity drives innovation and creativity. This is why we launched our Women in Technology initiative and scholarship program last month. The first of its kind for a mid-market technology company, our goal is to engage women and help them acquire the skills necessary to be successful in this new era.

A key element of the initiative is the Mediaocean Scholarship Fund, which will support three women as their pursue their career in technology with a $25k scholarship each.

The scholarship is open to current undergraduate and graduate students pursuing STEM degrees in the U.S. To apply, applicants must submit a 60-second video answering the question, “What is your dream career in tech and how do you plan to achieve it?” Videos will be narrowed down to 10 semi-finalists by a panel of esteemed women in technology, and from those 10 the public will vote to choose three winners. The deadline to apply is July 1, 2015, so get those cameras rolling and take another step toward your career in technology!

As an aside, we commissioned a report into Women in Technology to truly understand the issue. Here are some key findings:

  • Americans believe there are fewer women in technology because there isn’t enough social support (41 percent), women are less interested in working in tech fields (41 percent), and there is a hiring bias against women (40 percent). Interestingly, one-in-five agree tech is an unfriendly environment for women, and 17 percent considered tech to be “unfeminine.”
  • Nearly three quarters (73 percent) believe we should start fostering a passion for technology in women 12 years old and younger
  • Women in Technology are most commonly described as intelligent (77 percent), focused (50 percent), and creative (47 percent)
  • The best ways to encourage more women to break into the technology field are to:
    • Raise awareness of career opportunities (87 percent)
    • Provide more tech-focused classes in K-12 grades (85 percent)
    • Change the perception of women in technology to be more positive (84 percent)

About the guest blogger: Maria Pousa gives the global media community the information it needs to get the most from Mediaocean. She joined Mediaocean from her role of VP of Marketing at Innovid, one of the world’s fastest-growing video advertising technology companies. Maria has held key roles at media and technology companies including interclick/Genome, AOL Advertising, TACODA and The NewsMarket.