Cornell Tech partnership tries to shake up homogeneous field

CUNY partnered up with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cornell Tech to launch Winternship, a paid internship program and digital campaign for CUNY women in technology. This initiative aims to demonstrate support for CUNY women pursuing careers in technology by providing paid “winternships” to 200 female students studying computer science or a related field.

The “winternship” will take place during the winter intersession and is set to commence this January. Major sponsor companies such as Blackstone, Citibank and Verizon gathered at Cornell Tech to discuss ways to spread the word regarding the initiative and encourage more CUNY women to apply.

The program will operate under the Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship in New York initiative.

In a New York City Hall press release, Judith Spitz, program director at WiTNY, said that she expects the Winternship program to provide female students with “a foot in the door” and help build their résumés. She hopes the extra experience will give students a more competitive edge in an otherwise cutthroat field, especially when applications for 10-week summer internships yield more qualified than unqualified candidates.

Fostering initiatives for female development in sectors that generally have gendered stigmas or gender imbalance is important. It is especially relevant in CUNY, a public university system that caters to over 500,000 diverse and engaged students.

Participating in this program shows that CUNY wants to level the ratio between female and male employees in traditionally male-dominated industries.

By piloting this program, CUNY takes a stance against gender imbalance in the workplace and strives to level the playing field between men and women.

While this is a commendable start, CUNY should do more as an institution to grow female representation in other male-dominated fields, such as finance and accounting. This is especially relevant to students who attend Baruch College, the CUNY school primarily associated with business degrees. CUNY must continue to find more ways and establish similar programs to level the playing field for historically disadvantaged groups of people.

As a public institution that prides itself on its diversity, CUNY has a mission to consistently create initiatives to help discriminated groups rise to success.