Donald Trump struck a chord with many voters by recognizing the anxiety they feel about their future in the global economy. The jobs created in America today look very different than before. The skills required, the type of work, and increased global competition all serve as real challenges for millions of Americans who simply want to provide for their families. But the country remains deeply divided as to how we can address these concerns.
Today there are many different constituencies that face economic anxiety. But, to succeed, we need to look forward to where the economy is going: technology, creativity, entrepreneurialism, instead of backward towards closed borders, trade barriers and factory smokestacks.
Unfortunately, an important constituency that represents over half of this country is still getting left behind in this new economy: women. The upshot is that with some effort the new president, congress, governors and state legislators can help bridge that gap and create new opportunities for our next generation of women to capture 21st century jobs.
In 2015, there were 500,000 unfilled computing jobs in the United States, and only 40,000 new computer science graduates to fill them, according to a report we published with Accenture. This gap represents an incredible economic opportunity for Americans and a critical economic imperative for America.
Yet, only 18 percent of computer science graduates last year were women. Sad! And, it makes no economic sense. In order to fill the enormous computing skills shortage, we need to educate more girls to pursue computer science and equip more schools to teach them.
Today, a combination of stereotypes, lack of role models, unengaging curricula, and often lack of equipment or effective broadband all create an environment where girls' interest in computing rapidly declines starting in middle school. I believe that every girl has the potential to be a computer scientist.