By Maximilian Clarke

Despite numbering more than half of the world’s population, women hold less than a third of the world’s engineering jobs, a Google engineer observes. And in the US, less than 15% of advanced computer science examinees are female.

In a bid to help address this gender skills imbalance for the overall benefit of technology and of society, the search giant has since 2008 been encouraging women to study engineering under their ‘Mind the Gap!’ programme.

“We began organizing monthly school visits for different groups of girls to the Google office and annual tech conferences at local universities and institutes,” writes Michal Segalov, Software Engineer at Google’s R&D Center, Israel, in the company’s latest blog. “The girls learn about computer science and technology and get excited about its applications, as well as have a chance to talk with female engineers in an informal setting and see what the working environment is like for them.”

In the UK, the gender skills gap is perhaps even more pronounced, with just 1 in every 40 engineering apprenticeships going to women. The result of the disparity, a report entitled Closing the Gender Skills Gap in the UK finds, is a hit to the UK economy of some £23bn a year.

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