We accelerate gender equality in tech.

Because the future of innovation depends on all of us.

We focus on higher education.

By 2026, estimates are that the U.S. will only be producing 17% of the graduates needed to meet the nation’s tech workforce needs. This is a national problem. While encouraging young girls’ interest in computer science and tech during their K-12 years is critically important work, the data shows that it’s not enough. We need to enable and empower women and other underrepresented groups in tech through their college years.

Today, 58% of all college degrees are awarded to women. Yet less than 2% of these women are studying computer science and related tech disciplines. This represents an extraordinary opportunity and available talent pool that we need to activate in order to meet our growing workforce needs. Gender equality can’t wait.

How We Work

We do things differently. We open new doors. We create new pathways. We build new programs for women and other underrepresented groups in tech.

Our approach is to focus on university students in an emerging tech hub. Within that city ecosystem, we activate and align both sides of the supply chain—connecting academic partners with industry partnersto create new opportunities that bring the kind of large-scale transformation we all want to see.

Our programs create a continuous journey for college students as they move into the workforce. We focus on the three areas of intervention that researchers have shown are most critical and most effective in moving the needle: curriculum, career, and community.

Curriculum

Making introductory computer science classes more accessible and emphasizing real-world applications of technology through team-based learning strategies

Career

Connecting students with workplace experience  through Winternships, a paid internship program during the winter academic recess

Community

Encouraging peer-to-peer networks and professional mentorship opportunities to support, engage, and motivate people

“We can’t compete in the digital age if we leave half of the available talent pool sitting on the sidelines. It’s that simple.”

Judith Spitz, PhDExecutive Director, Break Through Tech

Impact

Break Through Tech is a national initiative launched at Cornell Tech with support from Pivotal Ventures, Cognizant U.S. Foundation, and Verizon. It originated in 2016 as a program called Women in Tech New York (WiTNY), created in partnership with the City University of New York (CUNY) and a broad set of industry partners.

In just three years, we’ve had a significant impact on women in New York City. As we expand, we plan to reshape existing norms and accelerate the shift to a more inclusive workforce in more cities that are striving to be seen as drivers of innovation, sources of talent, engines of growth, and destinations for women and other underrepresented groups in tech.

58

more women have enrolled as CS majors (1,401 to 2,218)

94

more women have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in CS (177 to 343)

54

of students who participated in Winternships 2018 landed a tech internship that summer

Your turn to make a move

Help make gender equality the future of tech.

Email us