20 years ago, my sister Alexa and mother Kathryn huddled up to launch a “tech camp for kids” in Silicon Valley. They didn’t get the investment capital so many companies rely on today. They really just had one asset: internal Drive. (That’s what the i and D stand for in iD Tech, by the way.) 270 kids came that first year, and most of the campers were boys.
The next year, they launched a “Girls-Specific Week” to try and get more girls to learn Java, Web Design, and Digital Video. They were ahead of their time. Still, just a handful of girls. attended that summer.
I’ve worked side-by-side with my mother, still the spiritual leader of our company, and sister (the fearless entrepreneur) to turn iD Tech into the inclusive, #1 go-to summer tech program we are today.
Today, more girls attend our summer tech camp than any other program on the planet. Just four years ago, only 12% of our campers were female. Today, over 50,000 girls have graduated from our programs. Currently 24% of our total campers are female and we're making strides toward our goal of 50/50 gender parity.
This explosive growth in female campers didn’t happen on it’s own. We launched Alexa Cafe, a stylish all-girls brand named after our co-founder, Alexa. The concept was mapped out in the offices of Google with Susan Wojcicki (now the CEO of YouTube). We also drastically altered our curriculum in our co-ed programs, ensuring girls could enroll in courses that mattered to them.
Our workforce is also representative of that 50/50 goal. 38% of our summer staff and 57% of our program directors are women, with expertise in everything from coding and game development, to AI, machine learning, data science, robotics and UX design. We didn’t need “gender studies” to tell us that our workforce should be reflective of the greater population—we just hired the best people we could find.
We’re proud of the strides we’ve made to get more females to study the fields of STEM. Only 14% of STEM undergraduates at the college level are female—and we know the important role we play as the pipeline to improving that stat.
Today, on International Women’s Day, I want to salute and thank my sister and mother, pioneers of the tech movement for girls. I also want to say thank you to all the girls, female instructors and employees of iD Tech who are blazing new trails and breaking glass ceilings to open up doors for the next generation of visionaries. For people like my 3-year-old daughter who will be knocking on the door shortly.
Happy International Women’s Day!
-Pete, CEO of iD Tech (and brother, son, husband, and father)