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Monday 23 September 2019

Apple to tutor women in tech in bid to diversify industry

Female entrepreneurs and programmers will attend two-week tutorial sessions at the company’s headquarters in California

Apple (Yui Mok/PA)
Apple (Yui Mok/PA)

By Michael Liedtke, Associated Press

Apple is launching a new programme designed to address the technology industry’s scarcity of women in executive and computer programming jobs.

Under the initiative, female entrepreneurs and programmers will attend two-week tutorial sessions at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.

The camps will be held every three months beginning in January. For each round, 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.

Like other major tech companies, Apple has been trying to lessen its dependence on men in high-paying programming jobs.

Women filled just 23% of Apple’s technology jobs in 2017, according to the company’s latest breakdown. That is only a slight improvement from 20% in 2014, despite the company’s pledge to diversify its workforce.

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.

Apple (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

It is not clear how much of a dent Apple’s new programme will have. Google also offers training for girls and women pursuing careers in technology, but its programme has not done much to diversify the workforce so far. Women were hired for nearly 25% of Google’s technology jobs in 2017, up from nearly 21% in 2014, according to the company.

Apple and other technology companies maintain that one of the main reasons so many men are on their payrolls is because women traditionally have not specialised in the mathematical and science curriculum needed to programme.

But industry critics have accused the companies of discriminating again women through a male-dominated hierarchy that has ruled the industry for decades.

Apple is not saying how much it is spending on the initiative. Beyond travel expenses, the company will be relying on its current employees to lead the sessions.

PA Media

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