In an effort to boost the number of women in the technology sector, Facebook and LinkedIn have teamed up on an initiative under which they are launching mentoring and support programs at colleges to get more women interested in pursuing a career in computer science and engineering.
According to Facebook's diversity figures released last year, women make up a mere 15 percent of the company's employees working in tech jobs, and around 31 percent of the total employees. The situation is more or less similar at LinkedIn, where women comprise 17 percent of the company's tech employees and 39 percent of employees overall.
"Careers in computer science and engineering are great for women (and men) — the work is high-impact, flexible, well-paid, and exciting," said Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg in a post on her Facebook page. "Yet female participation in these fields is plummeting. Women are missing out on great jobs and the world is missing out on their great ideas."
To give better perspective, the percentage of women enrolled in undergraduate computer science programs stood at around 35 percent in 1985, but is down to just 17 percent now. Back in 2013, Sandberg also wrote a book titled Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead that is focused on increasing women in positions of power in government and business.
While Facebook and LinkedIn didn't comment on how much they were spending on the initiative, the investment is focused on peer groups and a mentoring process already established through Lean In Circles -- small groups of women who meet regularly to learn and grow together.