Melinda Gates: $50 Million To Create More Opportunities For Women In Tech

By Amit Chowdhry ● February 1, 2020
  • Pivotal Ventures head Melinda Gates recently announced an initiative for supporting women in tech by setting up hubs in several cities as part of the Gender Equality in Tech (GET) Cities plan

Pivotal Ventures head Melinda Gates recently announced an initiative for supporting women in tech by setting up hubs in several cities. Gates has earmarked $50 million for the Gender Equality in Tech (GET) Cities Initiative and it will start in 3 cities in the U.S. over the next five years, starting with Chicago.

The aim of the Gender Equality in Tech (GET) Cities Initiative is to reduce the underrepresentation by women in technology.

“As local tech ecosystems grow, GET Cities looks to engage students from the first college course, to women in the current workforce, to female founders and investors. The initiative aims to create collaborative models that can be replicated in other growing innovation hubs by bringing together key stakeholders to invest and align resources and create shared goals for women in tech across academia, non-profit, government, venture capital, and business sectors in each selected city. The goal is to maximize the impact of local women-in-tech efforts, crowd in other funders, and foster local coordination that can accelerate the pace of change, nationally,” says a statement by Pivotal Ventures about the initiative.

To decide the cities, Pivotal Ventures considered factors like the current and future sources of diverse talent, access to computing degree programs and capital, the strength of local business and employer community, and the regulatory and political environment. The other two cities have not yet been named. GET Cities is planning to host its first event in the first half of 2020.

In Chicago, Pivotal Ventures has partnered with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s computer science program and P33. P33 is a tech hub aimed at reinvigorating Chicago’s tech community, which is co-chaired by Penny Pritzker, former Secretary of Commerce and founder and chairman of PSP Partners; Chris Gladwin, CEO and Co-founder of Ocient and Cleversafe; and Kelly Welsh, President of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago.

“As the tech industry continues to expand beyond Silicon Valley to other areas across the country, we have the opportunity to reimagine what the sector could look like. If these emerging tech hubs are supported to prioritize women’s representation and inclusion as they grow, they will be better positioned to tap into the full range of local talent, while also helping create a blueprint for closing the industry’s gender gap nationwide,” explained Gates in a LinkedIn post. “There is every reason to believe that the next innovation to sweep Silicon Valley could originate 2,000 miles away with a woman in America’s heartland. This is a chance to start investing in that woman today.”