GM invests in women in STEM careers

GM partners with Girls Who Code to encourage middle- and high-schoolers

Published: January 10, 2017, 4:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:20 PM

Mary Ann Jeffers, GM Electrification Assistant Chief Engineer - Mary Ann Jeffers, GM Electrification Assistant Chief Engineer

GM is doing its best to help close the gender gap when it comes to STEM-careers, partnering with the US non-profit Girls Who Code (GWC) to inspire and empower thousands of middle- and high-school girls to follow careers in science.

Recent research from Accenture and GWC showed that demand for computing personnel continues to grow but the proportion of women filling STEM jobs is in decline (from 37% of the workforce in 1995 to 24% today) and will do so over the coming decade.

“It’s never been a more urgent time to help our girls succeed in technology and engineering,” said GWC Founder and CEO Reshma Saujani. “We need more of our daughters to become engineers like Mary Barra, not just because these are goods jobs, but because having diverse thinkers in these roles makes our companies more innovative and competitive. I’m thrilled that our partnership with GM will help thousands of girls get access to top jobs and they’ll get to shape the products and services we use every day.”

The GM/GWC partnership will provide better access to computer science education to underserved communities, in addition to mentorship and projects to demonstrate the importance and impact Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) degree holders can have in the world.

“Becoming an engineer paved the way for my career,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “It’s one of the reasons I am passionate about promoting STEM education to students everywhere. Partnering with Girls Who Code is one more step in GM’s commitment to inspiring and growing diverse future leaders. I’m extremely proud that some of GM’s top female leaders will spend time with the students, teaching them about the possibilities and rewards of a STEM education.”

To kick the partnership off, GM is giving a $250,000 grant to GWC to expand its programs, which provide free after-school activities in schools, universities and community centres. Further, Barra and Saujani are hosting 30 students for activities focused on connectivity, electrification, autonomous and future mobility solutions. The aim is to triple the number of women in the computing workforce in the next 10 years.

Other GM leaders involved in the launch program and some coming workshops include Julia Steyn, director of MAVEN car-sharing program; Victoria McInnis, vice president of Tax & Audit; Christine Sitek, COO of GCCX Operations; Alicia Boler Davis, executive vice president of Global Manufacturing; Pam Fletcher, executive chief engineer of Global Electric & Autonomous Vehicles; and Sheri Hickok, executive director of Autonomous Vehicles Business Strategy & Execution Autonomous Partnerships and Fleets.