Only two in 10 computer programmers are women but if the response to Etsy's partnership with New York City-based Hacker School is any indication, male domination of the industry could soon be on its last legs. In April the DIY-oriented site announced that it was teaming upwith the school to offer $5,000 scholarships to 20 women to attend a three-month-long summer program and learn coding through projects. Exceeding all expectations, 661 women applied to the program and 23—three more than the original goal—were admitted.
Marc Hedlund, vice president of engineering for Etsy writes on the company’s blog that the number of applicants received for the summer session was 100 times the number received in their first attempt to have an all-female session at Hacker School. What made the difference? Hedlund says that this time around they offered financial aid grants to applicants. That likely played a significant role in the increase since 18 of the 23 admitted students requested grants.