The City and Microsoft have signed a Digital Alliance, pledging to work together to provide technology training specifically to women and girls.

Microsoft is working with the City to implement the Microsoft DigiGirlz program. Seventy-seven percent of jobs in the next decade will require tech skills, but only a small percent of young women are currently pursuing computer science education to prep for those jobs. Interestingly, 7 out of 10 young girls start out with an interest in science and math at an early age.

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“If Sacramento is truly going to be a city that works for everyone, we need to create an environment where everyone has the opportunity to receive the skills to succeed in the workforce,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. “I’m proud to help announce a new partnership between the City and the Microsoft DigiGirlz program to provide the tools women and girls need to pursue the high demand fields requiring technology training.”

In the partnership, the City’s IT department and Microsoft will hold events to help expose girls to tech careers. Through this program, the City will reach out to youth to strengthen ties and grow talent in our neighborhoods.

“We are excited about this great partnership with Microsoft to help girls in our community get connected to a pathway for careers in technology, said Maria MacGunigal, Chief Information Officer for the City of Sacramento. “Closing the gender gap in the technology industry, and enabling young people ways to gain key skills, is an important step to building an inclusive community.”

MacGunigal joined state assembly members and representatives from several tech and education organizations on the steps of the State Capitol last week to recognize “Women and Girls in STEM” week. The recognition was spearheaded by Assembly Member Ling Ling Chang.

The event aimed to celebrate women and girls in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, and to raise awareness about the gender disparity in those fields. The gender gap in STEM fields is significantly pronounced in California. Though one half of the work population is made up of women, they only represent roughly 26 percent of STEM workers.