Apple is launching a new program designed to address the shortage of women in the tech industry in executive and computer programming positions.
Under the initiative announced Monday, the entrepreneurs and programmers will attend two-week mentoring sessions at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.
Camps will be held every three months starting in January. For each round, Apple will accept up to 20 app creators founded or led by a woman. The app creator must have at least one programmer in their ranks to qualify. Apple will cover the travel expenses of up to three workers from each accepted company.
Like other major tech companies, Apple has been trying to lessen its reliance on men for high-paying programming jobs. Women held just 23 percent of Apple’s tech jobs in 2017, Based on the latest company breakdown.. That’s just a slight 20 percent improvement over 2014, despite the company’s promise to diversify its workforce.
The idea behind the new camp is to keep women interested and immersed in the field, said Esther Hare, Apple’s senior director of global developer marketing.
Apple’s boot camp is “a big step forward,” said Lorrain Hariton, CEO of Catalyst, a group that fights for equal rights for female workers. “There are many talented women in technology. Hopefully this helps set a tone for the entire industry. “
But it’s unclear how important Apple’s new program will be. Google also offers training for girls and women pursuing careers in technology, but its program hasn’t done much to diversify the workforce thus far. Women were hired for nearly 25 percent of Google’s technology jobs in 2017, up from nearly 21 percent in 2014, according to the company.
Apple and other technology companies argue that one of the main reasons so many men are on their payroll is that women have traditionally not specialized in the math and science curriculum necessary for programming.
But industry critics have accused tech companies of discriminating against women through a male-dominated hierarchy that has ruled the industry for decades.
Apple isn’t saying how much it is spending on the initiative, although, beyond travel expenses, the company will rely on its current employees to lead the sessions.