Women Who Code Closing For Lack of Funding
Written by Sue Gee   
Wednesday, 24 April 2024

Women Who Code the US-based non-profit organization that since its foundation in 2011 has advocated for women and diversity in technology, has announced its imminent closure due to critical funding cuts. 

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Women Who Code was started by a small team of engineers in San Francisco with the mission to empower diverse women to excel in technology careers. It aimed to provide resources and a  community for engineers, developers, data scientists, architects, designers and other technologists, enabling women to level up in a male-dominated.

Over the years, Women Who Code has evolved into a global community with over 360,000 members across 145 countries, making it a leading force in empowering women and historically excluded groups in technology through networking, mentorship, and professional development. The organization's achievements  include hosting 20,000 events, distributing $3.5 million in scholarships, and facilitating countless career advancements. It also claims that 80% of its members experience a positive career impact after joining.

News of the organization's closure came in a blog post by WWC's Teal Team:

It is with profound sadness that, today, on April 18, 2024, we are announcing the difficult decision to close Women Who Code, following a vote by the Board of Directors to dissolve the organization. This decision has not been made lightly. It only comes after careful consideration of all options and is due to factors that have materially impacted our funding sources - funds that were critical to continuing our programming and delivering on our mission.

This closure comes at a time when many organizations in the tech, coding, and IT sectors are facing similar financial challenges, highlighting a broader trend of diminishing support for diversity-focused nonprofits. 

The Teal Team hope that the spirit of the community will continue and say in the post:

To the women in technology, if you have been inspired, made a career connection, leveled up your technical skills, or expanded your network through this movement, we encourage you to keep paying that forward. The world needs women and diverse perspectives at the helm of tech as a critical force that shapes our world every day. Please, keep going. 

Apart from the blog post and the publicity it has attracted you might not realize that Women In Code website is embarking on its dissolution. New members can still sign up and there are several online events planned for the near future. There are also signs that the decision to dissolve the non-profit had not been forseen. In January 2024 Julie Elberfeld assumed the role of CEO, taking over from Alaina Percival, who was one of the original co-founders and had been at the helm since its inception. In a recent podcast coinciding with International Women’s Day (March 8th, 2024) Joey Rosenberg, President, Product and Communications talked to Julie Elberfeld who made clear that she saw an important continuing role - the section "Vision for Women Who Code" starts at 28:42, but the entire conversation is relevant: 

While the closure of Women Who Code represents a blow to its community it is also important to record the impact that it has had by helping many individual women in tech careers and in raising awareness of the issue of the under-representation of women and other excluded groups in tech.

At the time Women Who Code first started as community group in 2011 San Francisco the participants who were seeking connection and support for navigating the tech industry could find themselves in situations where there were just two or three women in large teams of developers or even as the only one. If you want a reminder of how things were see A Woman at Google I/O in which Kimberly Spillman recounted here experiences in 2012.

Nowadays things are different and going in the right direction. Jobs platform Zippia found that as of 2022, women make up approximately 34% of the workforce in major US tech companies.

This improvement hasn't, however, eliminated the need for Women Who Code and other organizations that share its vision that:

“the world needs women and diverse perspectives at the helm of tech as a critical force that shapes our world every day."

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More Information

The End of an Era: Women Who Code Closing

Related Articles

A Woman at Google I/O

Women In Tech - Towards Gender Parity

Celebrating International Women's Day 2016

Women In Computing (2014) 

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 April 2024 )