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Facebook, Pinterest, Box Team Up to Battle Tech's Gender Gap

A new mentorship program will connect women in tech roles with newbies.

Neil Hickey/Re/code

After a number of Silicon Valley tech giants unveiled employee demographic data earlier this year, they confirmed what many already suspected: The tech sector has a gender problem.

These companies vowed to do something to fix that problem, and Facebook, Box and Pinterest are making the first move to live up to that promise. The trio announced the creation of WEST (Women Entering and Staying in Tech) on Wednesday, a mentorship program intended to encourage young women to pursue tech-related careers. The program will match up “early to mid-career women in the Bay Area” tech community with young women just breaking into the industry. Over a year-long period, the mentors will help support the mentees in a one-on-one capacity.

The program was announced just a few months after companies, including Facebook and Pinterest, opened the book on their employee demographic data. Facebook reported that 85 percent of its tech positions were filled by men; at Pinterest, that number was 79 percent.

These numbers were consistent with other tech companies from Silicon Valley, including Google, Apple and LinkedIn. All of those companies expressed a need to bridge the gender gap in tech, and while many of them already work with related organizations in some capacity, WEST is one of the first new programs to crop up since the numbers were reported.

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