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Oracle pledges $3 million to help girls learn science, math and tech

The business-software maker worked with the White House to donate $200 million to support computer science education in the US. Now it's adding even more to focus on women's education.

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The White House and Oracle teamed up to empower women in computer science as more jobs require tech skills.


Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Silicon Valley is starting to put its money where its mouth is on women's education.

The latest example: Oracle, a leading business software maker, teamed up with the White House back in April to donate money to support the Obama administration's Computer Science for All initiative. The goal is to empower and engage student through various computer science programs in over 1,100 US institutions. They hope the money and attention will draw young people around the world into learning about science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. At the time, the company committed $200 million to the cause.

On Tuesday, Oracle added another $3 million specifically to focus the program on girls and women worldwide.

The money will help to fund programs to send 55,000 young girls around the world to various summer computing camps, codefests, workshops and conferences. The company also expects to expand its computer science efforts in Egypt over the next four years, where it invested $1 million in educational resources and services.

Ultimately, the tech giant hopes these programs will funnel more people into tech careers.

"We want more girls focused on building upon science and math fundamentals and we want more women choosing the technical disciplines because they are both prepared to do so and because they believe it will advance their career opportunities," Oracle's (female) CEO, Safra Catz, said in a statement.

For the past couple years, the tech industry has been advocating on behalf of STEM education, encouraging schools and governments to invest heavily in these types of jobs and teach computer skills to children at younger ages. Of course, the more people who learn these skills, the more potential employees there could be working at Facebook, Apple and Google.

But there's a murkier side to this too. Tech companies have often claimed too few women and minorities earn STEM degrees, a seeming excuse for employing mostly white men, particularly in leadership positions.

Oracle Academy, a computer science educational program, and Burning Glass Technology, an analytics company, recently did research and found that programming jobs grow 50 percent faster than the market average. As technology is increasingly present in people's personal and professional lives, there is a need for computer science learning. According to a summary program report of the College Board's AP program in 2015, only two percent of all participants took Computer Science and only 22 percent of the participants were female.