Breaking Barriers: Being a Woman in Tech

Despite early pioneers like mathematician Ada Lovelace and computer scientist Grace Hopper, women make up less than one-third of information technology (IT) professionals today. In fact, according to a study by Accenture and Girls Who Code, “the percentage of tech workers who were women in 1984 (35%) was actually higher than it is today (32%).”

At Champlain College, we’re committed to breaking down the barriers that keep women from entering or advancing in the industry, and we’re proud to offer a variety of forward-thinking programs and opportunities for female-identifying students to help shape the future of the field, from applied mathematics to cybersecurity.

Picture of Laila Martinez, a student of Champlain College’s Computer & Digital Forensics major, with a minor in Conflict Management and Criminal Justice.

The Gender Gap in Tech: A Historical Perspective

While their contributions have often been overlooked throughout history, women have played a central role in the development of technology. 

In the mid-19th century, Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician and writer, worked with Charles Babbage on his proposal for a general-purpose mechanical computer, the Analytical Engine. Lovelace’s work laid the foundation for computer programming and is considered the first algorithm designed to be processed by a machine. A century later, as computers began to emerge as powerful tools, computer scientist and U.S. Navy rear admiral Grace Hopper made groundbreaking contributions to computer programming languages through her work on COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language), which revolutionized software development. 

The technology industry has grown rapidly since then, and while we’ve seen progress toward gender equality in the 21st century, women remain underrepresented in leadership roles, entrepreneurship, and STEM education. At stake here is a gap in perspectives, product diversity, and innovation that will continue to grow as the field expands and the industry becomes more ingrained into our everyday lives. So what lies ahead? The emergence of women-led initiatives and advocacy groups has moved the needle, but what can we do to keep pushing toward a more equitable and inclusive tech future for all?

Champlain College students at the Women in Cybersecurity Conference (WiCyS).

Our Commitment to Bridging the Gap

Programs Designed for Success:

Diversity isn’t just about equal representation. It’s about leveraging a wide range of tools, perspectives, and experiences to drive innovation and solve complex problems. A diverse workforce fosters creativity, increases productivity, and improves decision-making. At Champlain College, we know that women play a critical role in shaping the future of technology, and our IT programs are designed to empower them to succeed in the industry.

  • BS in Applied Mathematics: Build on your passion for mathematics and explore diverse career opportunities. In this program, you’ll apply mathematics to other industries ranging from business to science, so you can discover a fulfilling career in the field of your choice.
  • BS in Computer & Digital Forensics: You’ll be at the forefront of digital investigation, helping to solve real-world challenges.
  • BS in Computer Networking & Cybersecurity: Become a cybersecurity expert and thrive in our hands-on learning environment, equipped to secure the digital world.
  • BS in Computer Science & Innovation: Innovate and shape the world of technology as you explore cutting-edge advancements and ideas.
  • BS in Data Analytics: Master key data skills and open doors to exciting opportunities in this high-demand field.
  • BS in Digital Humanities: Blend the liberal arts with digital skills, exploring diverse areas of study and developing valuable digital expertise to shape the future.
  • BS in Game Programming: You’ll gain the skills needed to succeed in the game industry, including game networking, graphics, and artificial intelligence.
Miranda Pagarelski is a double major in Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics. Watch this video to learn more about her experience at Champlain College.

Champlain Events, Resources, and Support:

  • Women in Cyber Summit: On November 3, 2023, explore cybersecurity through interactive sessions, panels, and expert speakers, including a keynote by Michele Tomasic, Deputy Director of Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS). Gain insights, network, and discover opportunities for scholarships and career development. 
  • Womxn in Technology Club: A safe and supportive space for students who are considered minorities in the field of technology.
  • Financial Aid, Scholarships & Grants: At Champlain, we offer a variety of scholarships and grants to help students of underrepresented populations access higher education.
  • Office of Diversity & Inclusion (ODI): Our ODI team offers the space and resources to promote initiatives that create a diverse and inclusive campus, where all voices are heard and valued.
  • Women’s & Gender Center (WGC): A safe space for students of all genders to learn about empowerment, leadership, gender identity, sexual orientation, and violence prevention.
A group of Champlain College students and faculty at the Women in Cybersecurity Conference (WiCyS).

Getting Ready for a Brighter Future

Despite historic challenges, we at Champlain are stepping up and contributing to a seismic shift toward gender equality in technology. We’re helping usher in a new, transformative era. What lies ahead is a future where women continue to break barriers, challenge norms, and shape the technology industry. And we invite you to build this future with us. Together, we can create a more equitable and inclusive space where every voice is not only heard, but valued. We’re ready for work, ready for life, and ready to make a difference.

Learn more about our Information Technology & Sciences Undergraduate Majors.

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