There is only one woman in Hacker School’s current class of 20–but a generous pool of grants from Etsy could literally change the ratio. Etsy is offering $5,000 grants for up to ten female developers who want to attend the summer session of Hacker School, the immersive programming class hosted quarterly in New York. The hope is that the grants will allow women to move to New York if necessary to attend Hacker School (and then come work at Etsy afterward).
In September, Etsy had three women out of 96 employees in its engineering and operations department, and none of those women were managers. Given that Etsy.com makes a majority of sales to women, the company decided that wouldn’t do. Six months later, Etsy managed to hire eight more women in engineering. “That’s a great start, but we still have no female engineering managers, and we’re nowhere near a gender-balanced department,” Marc Hedlund, Etsy’s VP of engineering, wrote in a company blog post yesterday.
Hacker School is funded by startups who recruit its graduates; companies also provide the space for the class. Etsy is hosting the 2012 summer session. The summer class will be 40 students, and Etsy is hoping that Hacker School can find 20 women to admit.
“Twenty is a small number, but it would roughly match the total number of female engineers I’ve hired in the past 17 years. Even a small change can have a large impact, given the severity of the issue,” Mr. Hedlund wrote.