Achieving equality and opportunity for women is one of the most important goals of our modern era. Though much has been done to increase awareness of the needs and rights of professional women, assistance from nonprofit organizations can reinforce this support and bring about real change in individual lives. There are many philanthropic organizations dedicated to helping women make the most out of their talents, from furthering their education, to nailing a job interview to making sure that they are safe and able to work to the best of their abilities.
The number of jobs in technology has exploded and is only predicted to grow and careers in tech have afforded women new opportunities for career advancement both here and abroad. Organizations such as AnitaB.org, which has provided women resources for coding education since 1987, are a crucial part of the process. Learning basic skills can prepare women for jobs in technology or help them to take the next step in their careers.
Another coding career resource is Girls Who Code, which addresses the fact that even though 74% of middle school girls express interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), only 0.4 percent of females choose computer science as a college major. Reshma Saujani, the founder, hopes to close the gender gap in technology by encouraging girls and young women to pursue their interests and start to learn computer science early in their educations.
Personal advancement often begins with interviewing for a better job opportunity and many women find looking appropriate for these interviews an initial barrier to entry. Dress for Success has been accepting donations and providing professional clothing to women in need for more than 20 years so that they can show up looking the part, which in turn helps them feel qualified and confident.
The Center for Women & Enterprise is dedicated to helping women start and grow their own businesses and to increase personal growth and financial independence. They believe that with the right tools and support, women can find security through entrepreneurship.
Another organization that works to empower entrepreneurial women is Kiva. Kiva loans money that then gets paid back through so called microloans – more than a billion dollars has been loaned this way. Though Kiva is not only meant for women, 81 percent of its beneficiaries have been female and Kiva’s loans have transformed their lives as well as their communities.
Finally, light is being shed on the working women who have experienced harassment and are in need of legal assistance, The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is working to help.. Backed by the National Women’s Law Center, organizers have heard from women worldwide seeking safe work environments. In its first year of existence, the fund raised $22 million dollars from more than 21,000 donors and has heard from women in all 50 states seeking counsel.
The growing interest in making sure that women are able to fulfill their potential starting with their educations has created concrete changes in the opportunities available to women and in their working environments. These organizations are such an important part of this process and can only serve to inspire the women they serve as well as those who seek to support female career advancement.