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Etsy Hacker Grants: Supporting Women in Technology

Apr 5, 2012

by precipice handmade and vintage goods

Marc Hedlund is VP of Engineering at Etsy. He has managed engineers in Internet companies from coast to coast, and is currently writing a book for O’Reilly Media on engineering management.

Today, in conjunction with Hacker School, Etsy is announcing a new scholarship and sponsorship program for women in technology: we’ll be hosting the summer 2012 session of Hacker School in the Etsy headquarters, and we’re providing ten Etsy Hacker Grants of $5,000 each — a total of $50,000 — to women who want to join but need financial support to do so. Our goal is to bring 20 women to New York to participate, and we hope this will be the first of many steps to encourage more women into engineering at Etsy and across the industry.

Women in Engineering

I’ve been an engineering manager in the Internet industry for 17 years, in the Bay Area and now in New York City. Throughout that time, I’ve hired hundreds of men from across the country and around the world into fun, creative, lucrative jobs. In sharp contrast, before joining Etsy, I had hired about 20 women in engineering roles, total, and it wasn’t for a lack of effort. Other managers I know have reported similar experiences. When I first heard about Carnegie Mellon’s “Dave-to-girl ratio,” I laughed ruefully but was not surprised.

Last September, three out of 96 employees in Engineering and Operations at Etsy were women, and none of them were managers. Talking this over with others here, we thought that Etsy — which supports the businesses of hundreds of thousands of female entrepreneurs through our marketplace, which sells a majority of all items to women, and which already has many talented and amazing women working for the company — should be one of the single easiest Internet companies at which to correct this problem.

Six months later, we now have eleven women in Engineering and Operations. That’s a great start, but we still have no female engineering managers, and we’re nowhere near a gender-balanced department.

What more can we do? What, beyond aggressively searching social networks and hiring every qualified female engineer we can find, will make a real difference any time soon? Many people agree that real solutions to this problem need to start as early as middle school. For my three-year-old daughter, I am thrilled to hear discussion of solutions at that level. For our company, I’d like to start solving the problem a lot sooner.

Hacker School

Hacker School is a New York-based project described by its founders (David Albert, Nicholas Bergson-Shilcock, and Sonali Sridhar) as “a three-month, immersive school for becoming a better programmer. It’s like a writers’ retreat for hackers.”

I love their focus on open-source software, on coding over building a startup, and especially on having a productive classroom environment that’s free from the negative conversational habits that all nerds sometimes fall into. They establish rules such as, “No feigning surprise — ‘You don’t know who RICHARD STALLMAN is!?'” Working to make a comfortable and supportive classroom environment is a great example of their educational insight and approach, and helps to address one of the big points of dissatisfaction female computer science students tend to experience.

In Hacker School’s current batch, however, there is only one female student out of 20 (and yes, I am working on hiring her). Talking with them, they said all the same things I hear from engineering managers everywhere: few female applicants, hard to find women who are interested, and so on. We started talking about how we could make a bigger change: for their school, for Etsy, and for the industry as a whole.

Making a Change

The summer batch of Hacker School will be 40 students, and our goal is to have them accept at least 20 women, with Hacker School retaining full control over the admissions process. In other words, 20 times the number of women in the current batch.

What will it take to get there? Most of all, we need to reach out far and wide to find the women who would be interested in becoming professional engineers, but for whatever reason haven’t made it into the industry yet, or need help getting a better role. Second, we need to make the program as appealing to those women as we possibly can. Third, we need to make it possible for those women to attend.

  • Reaching out: Etsy and Hacker School are working hard to get the message out, but we can’t reach everyone we need to on our own. We’re asking everyone in the Etsy community, and everyone who reads this post, to help us spread the word to women they know who love hacking. If you know a woman who has made an awesome personal website, a great iPhone app, or anything of the sort, please encourage her to apply. We have a page up about the program, where you can forward information to friends, follow our progress, or apply yourself.
  • Making it appealing: Hacker School already does a great job of this on their own, but we found some ways to help. The school operates by borrowing space from New York technology companies, so the summer batch will be hosted in Etsy’s headquarters, which are (if we may say so) freaking awesome. We’re inviting all of the students to join our company lunch, Eatsy, so they can meet and learn from Etsy engineers. Finally, the students will be invited to tech talks and company events, like the boisterous Etsy talent show we had last month.
  • Making it possible: While Hacker School itself is free to all students, we know New York City is expensive, and a three-month “hackers’ retreat” might sound enticing but be out of reach for some of the women we want to see attend. So, for 10 female students, we’ll provide a $5,000 needs-based scholarship — a total of $50,000 in grants.

We’ll be thrilled if we get to hire any awesome female engineers from the next batch of Hacker School, but more importantly, we just want to see these women go on to get fun, creative, lucrative jobs in technology — and hopefully tell other women about the great experiences they’ve had.

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. We hope you’ll help us make it happen.


  • indec Admin

    Ian Malpass said 4 years ago

    I have to say how proud I am to work for a company that's doing what it can to help address the gender disparity in tech. I'd love for my four-year-old daughter to grow up in a world where her gender has no impact on her employment options (although today she wants to be a pet shop owner, rather than a software engineer...).

  • chucklarge

    Chuck Clark from chucklarge said 4 years ago

    I am really excited about this!

  • ecokaren

    Karen Lee from ecokaren said 4 years ago

    WOW. Etsy is getting better and better every day! Kudos to you for reaching out to all female geeks. So exciting!

  • Gypsymoondesigns

    Gypsymoondesigns from Gypsymoondesigns said 4 years ago

    Sounds great! I tweeted it. Just to let you know the tweet is to long and I had to delete some info. Maybe you want to reword it : )

  • felicesereno

    Felice Sereno from FeliceSereno said 4 years ago

    wish i lived near NY!!!

  • strandsoflight

    Barb from ConstantCraving said 4 years ago

    Way to be!

  • chloecontag

    Chloe said 4 years ago

    Applying immediately! :D Thank you!

  • jenikaye

    jenikaye from MagicalMischief said 4 years ago

    LOVE!!! Cheers to Etsy and all my fellow nerdcore gals, this is an awesome opportunity <3

  • AmpleGoddess

    Ample Goddess from AmpleGoddess said 4 years ago

    This is fantastic! Thank you for supporting the need for more women in these fields. Good luck to all that apply.

  • lovestreams

    Anne Tonnerre said 4 years ago

    Wow, amazing ! This is indeed exciting. Bravo Etsy !

  • luchi

    Luann from luchi said 4 years ago

    I'm a software engineer and I would love to work for Etsy, although I don't live near any Etsy offices. Great idea with the grants!

  • ginkodesigns

    Debbi Hackeson from ginkodesigns said 4 years ago

    Etsy, you make me proud to have a shop here. As a network security professional, and often the only female in the room, I applaud you for not only encouraging, but actively seeking to further the careers of women.

  • ArtsiBitsi

    Bits from BagChemistry said 4 years ago

    As a girl geek, a computing lecturer and an Etsy-preneur, I love this incentive. Excuse me while I run off and tell a couple thousand fellow women in computing. :-) Bits

  • Supplylogy

    Madi from Supplyology said 4 years ago

    Awesome and a great idea!

  • suchaclevergirl

    Claire from suchaclevergirl said 4 years ago

    what an incredible and generous opportunity! Lucky lady winners!

  • awsumo

    jenno rodriguez from awesomechickcrochet said 4 years ago

    awesome XD im about to study solar power panel

  • crochetgal

    crochetgal from crochetgal said 4 years ago

    What a wonderful opportunity! Its too bad that its taking as long as it is for women to get 'recognized' in a predominantly male field. Even when I was going to school (many years ago) my engineering classes were 98% male. Lets get these female engineers on the right path!

  • TheWallaroo

    Sandra from TheWallaroo said 4 years ago

    Thank you. REALLY. THANK YOU

  • purplishhands

    Jennifer Yu said 4 years ago

    I love your initiative! Thanks for doing this! I find it lonely to be a female software engineer, and I hope this is the beginning of many more women coming into the field.

  • nefertitijewelry2009

    Nelly L. from nefertitijewelry2009 said 4 years ago

    Great idea and good luck to all women...future engineers!

  • NightsRequiem

    Ashley Reiter from NightsRequiem said 4 years ago

    I got my degree in game and simulation programming in 2009. In my first year there were about 40 guys and 3 girls in my classes. By the time I graduated, that number had dwindled to 8 guys and 1 girl (me!). I was always told that I would be the first to get a job in the field due to my gender, but I'd much rather get it for my skill set. :p Due to the cost of living I ended up having to leave Seattle to go back home to Montana. Now, its been so long that I don't think I could jump back in again. This would be an amazing opportunity that I wish I could participate in. Unfortunately, I need my job for my fiance to qualify for immigration from Canada :(

  • MySweetieBean

    Ivy T from MySweetieBean said 4 years ago

    Brava! I am SO thrilled to read this. I know just who to forward this info to. If I didn't have two little ones I would SO BE THERE!! Good on ya, Etsy. =)

  • 3redheadsDesigns

    3redheadsDesigns said 4 years ago

    I love that you are actually doing something to move forward! Yet another reason to love Etsy.

  • SusiesBoutiqueTLC

    SusiesBoutiqueTLC from SusiesBoutiqueTLC said 4 years ago

    Wow thats wonderful. WTG Etsy! :)

  • camelama

    camelama from camelama said 4 years ago

    Great stuff! I would have loved a program like this. I was one of only two women in my college degree program in the 80s. By the way, if you had a Seattle sattelite office, you could probably staff it 100% with hacker chicks. We're fairly numerous out here. :)

  • soap

    soap from soap said 4 years ago

    right on! <--- science type

  • kawaiicrochet

    kawaiicrochet from kawaiicrochet said 4 years ago

    That is awesome! I'm applying for sure!

  • BeachHouseLiving

    BeachHouseLiving from BeachHouseLiving said 4 years ago

    Bravo Etsy for cultivating future engineers!

  • greenswell

    greenswell from greenswell said 4 years ago

    Bravo! This is a terrific, positive contribution -- a wonderful way to state the problem and help to solve it. MUCH appreciated.

  • staceypostus

    staceypostus said 4 years ago

    Fabulous to hear! I think more and more women will become interested in technology and other traditionally male dominated fields. My 7 year old daughter wants to be and engineer just like her dad. :)

  • dottywalker

    Dotty Walker from SewThoughtfulBlanket said 4 years ago

    Great article. Thanks for sharing.

  • DeviousRose

    DeviousRose from DeviousRoseBoutique said 4 years ago

    Got this in my school e-mail. I wish I could apply! =D

  • lifemeetsart

    Jolynn from lifemeetsart said 4 years ago

    My husband, the electronic engineer, is always telling me I should be an software engineer. I find hex code really interesting and while I haven't any formal enigeering education the fact that I know what hex code if gives me street cred with my engineering peeps. I have been known to walk around with my nose buried in a text or two about the subject. I love this idea!

  • lifemeetsart

    Jolynn from lifemeetsart said 4 years ago

    Geez! I was too excited about the topic that I couldn't even spell.

  • bmwbzz

    bmwbzz said 4 years ago

    As a female developer, I think this is awesome. BUT if you take a look at the Hacker School website ... it is not female friendly. It's got an old school computer as the logo (and called hacker), which reinforces the notion that you need to be into computers as a teenager who sat in his room playing video games all day. Every single picture on the site is of a guy. The description is basically geared at people who KNOW they want to program - why not talk about why programming is awesome? (all the cool things and problems you can solve, the great companies you can work for, stability etc). There's lots of research out there about how women have a different value system for choosing career paths (a lot is around focusing on communication, stability, identifying with the values and product of the company etc). The Anita Borg Institute, Carnegie Mellon, and Harvey Mudd all have published on this topic. I think one of the mistakes that people make is saying, well if we offer them money, they'll come! Maybe they will, but only if they are ALREADY interesting ... it's not really rectifying much. Maybe Esty can lend a graphic desginer or two to Hacker School?

  • mktengineer

    Meg Hall from mktENGINEER said 4 years ago

    industry is roughly 10% female. I work for a company that is has been in business since 1896 and I am the only female engineer they have ever hired. Ladies think differently than men do, even in the engineering industry. If I didn't hate programming so much I'd be interested. But, as a mechanical, it is in my nature to prefer the hands on stuff.

  • riskybeads

    Lori from riskybeads said 4 years ago

    What a fabulous idea! Great article.

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl said 4 years ago

    That is so cool. As an women in architecture I understand how different a male dominated field can be. I am glad to see that women are being recognized for what we can do, or have the potential to do when given the chance. It reminds me of what a co-worker in an engineering firm once said: "You don't see a lot of females in this field, but those that you do have are great at what they do!"

  • meela312

    Meela Palomo said 4 years ago

    Great initiative to encourage more women in the technological field. Having worked as a Graphic Designer since 2003 I've never worked with another female designer or director. Unfortunately I wouldn't be able to pass the Fizz Buzz test without a lengthy effort but I think the answer is here: ;)

  • byjodi

    byjodi from byjodi said 4 years ago

    Wahoo!! This is awesome news! Thank you for stepping out to do this!!

  • thecyclingartist

    Tina Mammoser from GeologyArt said 4 years ago

    Aw, I wish I still was into coding. I'm going to disagree about the feel of the site. I'm a woman and love the old school logo and the word hacker. There's a woman on the founding team of three. I see women (one being Sonali I think) in two of the photos, and it's probably so few because, well, they're trying to get more women! :) They could stage photos I suppose. I could do FizzBuzz in Basic at one time. LOL! Good luck to all the awesome Etsy women who apply!

  • 405Creations

    Donna from 405Creations said 4 years ago

    I've worked in technical support and admin jobs for over 11 years. Unfortunately most everyone I worked with were men, and there were rarely opportunities for me to advance. I got so tired of being told I couldn't do anything more challenging, that I've pretty much given up. It's been a constant struggle and I feel like they beat the passion for it out of me. Maybe this is part of the reason more women aren't in tech. I'd love to come to something like this, but I'm not an engineer. It sounds like I'd have to be in order to apply. ?

  • jennimabie

    Jenni said 4 years ago

    How sad that, even in 2012, companies are still making hiring decisions based on criteria as meaningless and superficial as gender.

  • dsrhoov53

    Dave Hoover said 4 years ago

    I'd like to see Groupon do something similar with Code Academy. Way to step up and lead the charge, Etsy!

  • faro

    Faro from Faro said 4 years ago

    WOMEN! Thanks etsy and good luck ladies.

  • minouette

    Ele from minouette said 4 years ago

    I'm really pleased to read this! Kudos. As a woman in physics, I know what it's like to work in a highly male-dominated field. There are a few dinosaurs I've encountered who have obvious biases against women, but most people are neutral or positive and want to see more balance. In my experience though, often male physicists who think there should be more gender balance seem to think that the women in the field should just tell them the one magic thing they can do to fix it, rather than take the initiative to try to change the culture and try to work on projects which will help with recruitment and retention. The truth is that there is no 'one magic thing'. People in STEM fields need to apply their prodigious problem-solving skills to be creative about making an environment which is welcoming to all, so we don't keep loosing the brightest women (and other minorities in these fields) to other jobs which are perceived (for good reason) as more welcoming. I hope this initiative helps to reach your goals! I'll be sure to promote it to female coders who might be interested.

  • littlehandsstudio

    littlehandsstudio from littlehandsstudio said 4 years ago

    I'm going to forward this to the email list of our local college of computing and information but I'd just like to add a few thoughts that have been on my mind as I read about trying to get women into STEM fields. Don't take this as bad attitude about what you are doing, which I think is WONDERFUL...but...women are not made to feel welcome in STEM fields once they get there. In my mind that means that you can't just throw them in a hostile environment and expect that they will stay. That means that THE ENVIRONMENT HAS TO CHANGE. The men who are in these fields have to understand that it's not going to remain an exclusive men's club where they can remain hostile, unwelcoming and generally like nerdy man-boys who don't want girls messing around in their workplace. It's not just a woman problem, it's a man problem too and men have to do some work of their own to make sure women will be welcome once all the money is spent to make sure they are present. Retention will always be a problem until women are no longer harassed, disrespected and generally made to feel like they're disagreeable aliens.

  • MirabilisColors

    Karen from PlusSizePlus said 4 years ago

    I was one of those very lonely female techies - you should have seen it back in the 70s. I was almost always the only female programmer, analyst, systems engineer or project manager. No matter how determined I was to hire some females that applicant pools were always at least 95% male. I never once experienced the least bit of gender discrimination in that field and in my experience value was based on being accurate and fast and not on what bits you have. No one objected to my being female as long as my code worked. I think that you nailed it when you said that education needs to start much earlier, long before they reach an age where they absorb the crap about how it's a predominantly male profession.

  • suzedablooze

    Susie Morrow from SusieMorrowJewelry said 4 years ago

    Ive been working in technology as a scientist and then software development for nearly 20 years and in that time I've seen a change - technology needs women, its now not just about engineering, its about expression, about human factors, communication and design. We've come a long way and now we need gender balance to really get things right and make software more than just a tool - the future of software is female but we need men too - lets work together to make technology work for us.

  • MirabilisColors

    Karen from PlusSizePlus said 4 years ago

    I used to do a fair amount of public speaking with high school girls about careers in the technology field and the vast majority of responses were something along the lines of "it's boring". That always surprised me because the main draw of programming for me was that I could go as fast as I wanted to and never have to do the same thing twice. The logic of it was beautiful to me. No one will ever convince me that we're wired to be less logical than men are so why do so many women see it as boring?

  • TheWallaroo

    Sandra from TheWallaroo said 4 years ago

    @Karen, I agree with you. It seems a lot of women think the field think it is boring or full of harassment, discrimination, etc. About the 'boring' part, I just can't see how. You are basically sitting behind your desk without being constantly interrupted by chit chat or gossip, and you have the ability to focus on coming up with a logical and efficient solution to very tangible problems. Every day is a challenge and your brain is a non-stop sequence of code snippets, "why?s", "How?s", "What if?s". Even the so dreaded 'bug fixing' can be easily approached as one of those cases that Fringe or CSI has to resolve in a very short amount of time. I could not ever picture myself doing something less intriguing or challenging. As far as harassment and discrimination in the workplace (or the industry in general), I just don't care to even pay attention to it. Perhaps it is truly there, but why would I bother paying attention to it?. If it ever gets to the point where it makes some girl feel like they need to change career paths because of this, please go to your HR department and just file complaints until this gets resolved. Being a female in this field has always given me the confidence of knowing that by working in a department full of men, I am the only one bringing something different to the table. My perspective and opinions are often highly respected. When they aren't, all they can really say is that I'm a b$%ch but is that supposed to bother me? Like Karen said, as long as you do your job right and your code works, then no one can't touch you.

  • seme

    seme said 4 years ago

    I've been a huge fan of Hacker School and have always wanted to attend like some of my friends already have, but would not be able to handle three months without some kind of income. This program allows me to apply, and it's so awesome of Etsy to put it together. That being said there are plenty of people who say they want more women programmers but don't end up hiring women because of problems in their own culture. True Story: I interviewed at Etsy for a technical position, got turned down after several phone interviews for a position that is still open. I have another female web developer friend whose pet project gets over 4 million pageviews a month, applied to Etsy and couldn't even get an interview. When I got rejected from Etsy I assumed it was because I wasn't good enough. Then one of my friends in Google's engineering division passed my resume along to Google and came back with five or six positions Google wanted to talk to me about. Now I think it's really more of an attitude problem. Technical people are creative people. We need an environment where we are encouraged to learn, to try new things, to make mistakes (only on the development server please!) and ask questions. The problem for women is that we are always assumed to be non-technical until proven technical, while our male counterparts are always assumed to be technical until proven non-technical. This makes it harder to compete in interviews, because the stupid oh-my-god-so-nervous mistakes you make are judged differently. It also removes you from the ideal work environment: you can't learn because admitting there's something you don't know is held against you, you can't experiment because your mistakes will be judged differently, you can only try something new if you master it immediately. You feel constant pressure to represent your gender well, and when you fail at something people forget all the amazing things you've done right and go back to their first assumption: you're really not a techie after all. I'm not saying Etsy is like this, it's just something to think about. You've been given smart, amazing women who love technology and you've deemed them not good enough. At the time I interviewed with Etsy I had never had a technical interview before, I had no idea what a code sample should look like, my design patterns were weak, and as someone who taught themselves to code at the age of 14 and kept it up as a hobby with no formal training I stumbled over terminology and unspoken code "conventions". I don't wonder why Etsy cut me loose, but now after talking a little bit with Google I see a huge difference in attitude. They look at the same things and shrug, knowing that they can fix those problems with a little instruction but that they can't make someone smart, driven or intellectually curious. Google has a massive number of awards for diversity and high profile female managers/executives ... I can't help feeling like these two issues are connected. So at the end of the day, maybe what would help Etsy is not asking more women to apply, but changing from a culture that wants to hire the best-of-the-best to a culture that believes that they can take SMART and turn it into the best-of-the-best.

  • seme

    seme said 4 years ago

    Wow I didn't realize the comment box can't handle line breaks, I apologize for the wall of text people! :D

  • kellysmagnets

    Kelly OSullivan from KellysMagnets said 4 years ago

    As a woman who has worked in IT for over 25 years, I am still shocked at how few woman are in the field. Kudos to Etsy for supporting this!

  • Usagi629

    Usagi629 from Usagi629 said 4 years ago

    Sounds great. If I could take 3 months off from work, life, family to do it, I would... but uhh... yeah... I don't think my job would allow me that, and I couldn't do it to my family either. It sounds like an awesome opportunity though. I'd be interested in an online/correspondence course, if that would ever be an option. I've been a professional software engineer for over 7 years. I've never been surprised by the smaller number of women to men in the field though. My company is small and quite diverse though, so we have quite a lot of women working throughout the company. I think a lot of women may be intimidated by the job though. It just depends on what your ambitions are and what you enjoy doing. Coding, computers, and general technology have all come to be naturally and intuitively since I can remember, so it was kind of a no-brainer that I'd go into this field. For others, it may not be so easy a choice to make.

  • amparosofia

    Amparo Sofia said 4 years ago

    I've been in Telecom and IT in general for the past 8 years. I have a different major so I could not apply for this, though I think it is a great opportunity. Though the company I've been working for does hire a lot of women considering it is an all IT company, most of the people we work with are men. And there is only one woman on a high management job. I have never felt harassed or felt my coworkers being hostile to me more than they are with any other men. But the leap towards management does get harder. I don't know if this is particular to technology related profesions, but it is frustrating to see people that you know are less capable for those jobs than yourself get them, and you being shunned cause you have not got yet any management experience. How are we supposed to get it if they don't give us a chance?

  • MirabilisColors

    Karen from PlusSizePlus said 4 years ago

    This certainly isn't a rule but in most of the places that I worked over the decades career paths seemed to split at the senior programmer level. At that point someone either chose to go the more technical route into systems engineering and moved up the ladder based on technical proficiency and the ability to lead the programmers on a development project. The other path went more toward being a business analyst and project manager and those positions more often led to the upper management positions. In the end the pay scales were about the same below the CEO level.

  • janelwang

    Jane Wang said 4 years ago

    Hi Etsy, want to commend you for working with Hacker School to change the ratio for women in tech. It's an initiative that has been thus far sorely needed. I will be a part of the Hacker School's summer batch and can't wait to hang out with you guys! The grant has just been announced, post my admittance. Is there someone I can talk to at Etsy? Please reach out! See you in June and thanks in advance!

  • precipice Admin

    Marc Hedlund said 4 years ago

    Hi, seme, Thanks for your post. I don't know the details of your candidacy, but speaking generally, I think that you're absolutely right that a interview process either can be supportive or not of efforts like this. All I can say is that I think the results over the past six months have shown a big change, and I believe that's because of working on this. There are more things we should improve, but I think we're off to a good start. Regardless, I'm sorry you had a bad experience interviewing here. Best, Marc

  • LoomOnTheLake

    Lynn from LoomOnTheLake said 4 years ago

    As a Ph.D. scientist who started doing pioneering work for the advancement of women in Physics and Mathematics forty years ago, and as the mother of a daughter with a Ph.D. in engineering, I am pleased to say that there has been a huge amount of progress. Yet much more needs to be done. Please keep up your efforts.

  • patspottery

    Pat Parker from PatsPottery said 4 years ago


  • SOFIA10

    Sofia Telford from SOFIA10 said 4 years ago

    Great Idea!! I am a retired Professor of Computer Science and I always tried to encourage young women to go into technical fields.

  • KaiceJoy

    Kirsti Joy from KaiceJoy said 4 years ago

    Great ideas!

  • ArtDecoDame

    Desiree from ArtDecoDame said 4 years ago

    Wonderful!Great idea!

  • swankypress

    Elizabeth from swankypress said 4 years ago

    Great offer. Kudos to Etsy! I just shared this on my small business advice blog, Most of our 2,500 followers are etsy sellers..maybe a few are programmers, too!

  • pengworkshop

    pengworkshop from PengWorkshop said 4 years ago

    Great news!! Exciting

  • IvyandMeApparel

    Meredith and Brooke Bateh from IvyandMeApparel said 4 years ago

    This is a fantastic initiative. Hats off to you, Marc and Etsy! May many other companies follow your lead.

  • Sterlingsilver02

    Adrian from EquestriaJewelers said 4 years ago

    Makes me wish I had stayed and finished my digital media degree (had a year and a half left, but became a stay at home mom due to my daughter having some health issues). Would have loved to take on an opportunity like this in my prime, and when I was still up to date on my programing and tech savvyness. Now I'm just a gamer and family/friends tech support system :P

  • buffalogirls

    Ludmilla from buffalogirls said 4 years ago

    Kudos to Etsy for supporting women in technology! Wonderful idea and I hope it will empower women to seek these jobs and actually being hired!

  • tomsgrossmami

    Tom's Grossmami from tomsgrossmami said 4 years ago

    That's great! Just tweeted about it.

  • EstesTJ

    TJ Estes from TheShinyCrowsNest said 4 years ago

    Great initiative Etsy!

  • erlinis

    Erlinis Quintana said 4 years ago

    Same experience here about few women in this field, when I went to the university 43 men, 7 women. Graduated around 17 men and 4 women, but only 2 girls really loved coding. My friend and I I would love to be there!! Cheers from Barranquilla, Colombia

  • highfidelic

    d j said 4 years ago

    I'm a girl majoring in CS! I just applied, and I really hope I can attend this summer.

  • missnikimakesthings

    miss niki from missnikimakesthings said 4 years ago

    Oh Mark : ) I live with a wonderful man who shares your sentiments, and I can't help but think you had something to do with that. Kudos to you and your team on such an exciting project!

  • precipice Admin

    Marc Hedlund said 4 years ago

    @miss niki: he actually had something to do with me having the sentiments I have now. He has been awesome on this topic for as long as I've known him. I'm glad you like the project!

  • bhangtiez

    Jana from bhangtiez said 4 years ago

    Wow! So awesome.

  • adunaphel13

    Isabel C said 4 years ago

    This is amazing! I love Etsy, and I love women, and I love tech! I'm a developer/analyst at a multinational company, and I have to wonder if this gender disparity in tech is culturally-related. I'm from the Philippines, and although in my current company there's a dearth of women in the IT department, the few women that are present occupy the highest and second-to-highest IT positions (CIO, etc.). In university, most of the top students both in computer science subjects and overall were women (including me). I get along well with the typical IT male geek (roughhousing, gamer talk and all), I love metal and tattoos, but I do like the typical female pursuits. I am a mother of two, also. I suppose I am very lucky, but none of my, shall we say, less radical female friends have any complaints about discrimination. This is not to belittle those who have had negative experiences, just wondering about how unique my experience might be.

  • spacefem

    spacefem from spacefem said 4 years ago

    Wonderful news, wonderful initiative! I was playing around with the Etsy API over the last few months, feeling like it was terribly underused, and thinking to myself that it's sad, a website with a community dominated by women can't also have a community dominated by coders and techies, because the two worlds just don't meet. So what do we end up with? Us women using a site, and related tools, all made by men. I like men, but I don't want to rely on them to do everything for me. They'll never understand what I need like I DO. Right? And just having more women engineers will make the world a much smarter place. Innovated companies can draw their talent from the whole population, not just half of it. Go Etsy.

  • TechnoChic

    Natasha Dzurny from TechnoChic said 4 years ago

    Thanks for helping women in technology! I'm more of an interaction designer, but hopefully my tweeting about this will catch other women out there. Yay Etsy!

  • GinnArt

    Amy Ginn from GinnArt said 4 years ago

    Great news!! I am a student in information security and agree that it is a male dominated field. I have noticed that I am the only woman in most of my technology classes. I am currently teaching my eleven year old daughter how to use web programming :)

  • EarthbutterStudio

    Desiree Malan from EarthButterStudio said 4 years ago

    Good news which I've passed on to my daughter who is in her last year of school in South Africa. She's a IT wizard and is considering studying IT at university next year. This will encourage her even further to go into that direction.

  • MetalMindCircuits

    Metal Mind from MetalMindCircuits said 4 years ago

    This is really great news that I've shared with all the tech ladies I know!

  • MagpieQuilts

    Ann from MagpieQuilts said 4 years ago

    What an awesome initiative! Although men are stepping up and doing more of the duties around home and family life, it is still (in my experience) the women that make sure the home runs smoothly. When all the pressures and demands of life and work are overwhelming, many women make the choice to sacrifice work opportunities to make sure they don't drop the ball when it comes to family.

  • EpicTrinkets

    EpicTrinkets said 4 years ago

    I would love to do this but I don't think I can take 3 months away from my job unless I birth a child. If this was just a one-week seminar I would be all for it.

  • EpicTrinkets

    EpicTrinkets said 4 years ago

    I work in technology at a 500-employee non-profit in Seattle... our department head is female, all of the mid managers are guys, and our tech department has a good number of women, but there is a really obvious gender split - analysts, project managers and administrators are dominantly female. All of the engineers and infrastructure techies are guys. The help desk, application support and database gurus are split 50/50.

  • SEOWebDesign

    Mary from WingsDoveSEOGuides said 4 years ago

    I have worked in technology for over 35 years, long before the Internet was even thought of. The opportunities have always been there but very few women took advantage of those opportunities. Women have been involved with technology since the beginning. The COBOL programming language was invented by Grace Hopper - commonly referred to as "the mother of the COBOL language" around 1959. I have never known a time when women were excluded from technology jobs. Companies always hire whoever can do the best job. (They have not always paid equitably but that is another story). Most women have demonstrated no interest in technology. Hopefully with this grant, more young women will come forward and take advantage of this opportunity,

  • lauraprill

    Laura Prill from lauraprill said 4 years ago

    I hope that this will inspire many women! Fantastic!

  • littleaart

    Caroline Sherry from littleaart said 4 years ago

    Brilliant. I've been working in solaris and security for about ten years and feeling very jealous of women who can make it to New York for three months right now. Studied computer systems engineering and have never worked or studied in an environment where I was with many if any other women.

  • katieguernsey

    Katie Guernsey said 4 years ago

    I created an Etsy login just to comment on this post :) I appreciate the intention here... So much. I trust that most people behind this project only have women's best interests in mind. However, I have to agree with @bmwbzz and @littlehandsstudio. As a woman with a CS degree, having proven my interest in the field, I would never qualify for this school. Why? Because I don't LOVE coding. And should that be a bad thing? What I love is learning. I like coding. I like technology and talking about it. But I also like to dance and have a social life. I love people-- not code. I think this is the problem with the term "hacker" and the majority of CS environments. It's too hard to be well-rounded. In a society that puts so much pressure on women to be the everything for everyone, I don't see how we can be expected to compete in the STEM fields, maintain a decent physique, hairless legs, presence, affability and grace AND do the dishes. (I exaggerate, but you get the gist of what I'm saying.) Just like any extreme political rhetoric, the paradigm of the program attends to the passionate, and therefore alienates anyone who identifies as a moderate to very interested techie-woman. Maybe it's the wrong program for me... but for christ sakes-- it's the closest one I've seen to being fit for me and yet I still can't identify with it. Oh wait- that is just the experience of every woman in the STEM field. :)

  • seme

    seme said 4 years ago

    @Katie - What they mean is they value passion for learning about technology OVER being an expert. It's about creating a supportive learning environment for people to make mistakes and ask "dumb" questions. If you're the type of person who would teach yourself a new language on your own just to learn something new, than you "love coding" and should definitely apply. Lots of people who go to Hacker School have interests and hobbies beyond writing code. If you want proof look at the projects they've created

  • Oxling

    Oxling said 4 years ago

    I'm really excited to hear about this (and I applied!). What makes me sad is the nasty reception this got from some other parts of the tech community, like these really ugly comments on slashdot: Etsy, can you respond to the accusations that it's all "reverse discrimination" or that the scholarship implies women are worse than men at programming? It's these attitudes that put down women in tech and I'd love to see some kind of retort.

  • TheWallaroo

    Sandra from TheWallaroo said 4 years ago

    @Oxling, I think Etsy has indirectly addressed those 'accusations' by pointing out the obvious: Etsy's end-user demographic is mostly females. Even for business reasons only, it is in their best interest to have more female engineers providing technical solutions/opinions on how these users may prioritize/perceive some of the site's functionality. I believe this was mentioned here... Also, as far as the 'accusations' themselves... I've seen them in other sites as well and I think we just need to ignore them. I know that the women who do make it into the HS program will make us proud. I would be interested on hearing/reading about their experiences after the three months. In the meantime, good luck with your application. I applied as well.

  • Micheler66

    Micheler66 said 4 years ago

    This is SO VERY amazing -- I've spread the word to everyone I know. Thank you!!

  • sserre

    Stephanie Serre said 4 years ago

    I am a female who desperately wants to get into the programming/coding industry. I am graduating in May with my masters in Instructional Technology. Currently I am a teacher, but I want to get out of the teaching field and go into programming. I feel that one way I can start this process is to work for an educational start-up. Mostly all of the jobs posted are for programmers. That is what I want to do, I just do not know programming yet. I would love to just go back to school for programming, but financially I am unable to do that. Do you have any suggestions on how a female who wants so badly to get into the engineering/technological field might go about it? Or if you know of any companies willing to hire someone who wants to learn programming. I live in the NYC area, so there are plenty of start-ups around me. I wish I had the programming background to attend the Hacker School. Thank you for reaching out to females who have a passion for this.

  • hhjchen

    Jennifer Chen said 4 years ago

    Ok, this is cool. However, have you thought about perhaps why there are few female engineers working at Etsy or the likes? Perhaps companies should reconsider their hiring criteria. i bet there are tons of female engineers who are interested but if you're looking for specific criterias (ie. "If you know a woman who has made an awesome personal website, a great iPhone app..."), then you may just be filtering out females who have actual potential but may not necessarily have already created an awesome website or a mobile app. So what if they haven't created a website (and not just a wordpress blog) or a mobile app. Does this mean that they are not interested or qualified? Sometimes, people just need an opportunity or someone to believe in them to get the ball rolling.

  • thelostproperty

    Jane Bell from thelostproperty said 4 years ago

    I agree with Jennifer - I'm so desperately interested in this opportunity - I study in the science/engineering fields, I've studied computing, but I'm learning much more in my own time. I'm taking every chance I get to learn more about comp sci and programming - but I don't have a personal website. I don't have an iphone app. I have word docs full of ideas, but I don't have the personal infrastructure to implement them. I have a website for my business - that I got in a $9.95 for a year sale from a local hosting company. I would love the chance to grow, to expand my knowledge and get a chance to try and build the ideas I've got, but at the moment...I'm not confident in it, I'm learning from 1st/2nd year level subjects and the rest from code academy, the MIT free online courses, and more similar free resources...but hacker school would change my life!

  • starspace1

    Leslie Brown said 4 years ago

    Amazing. Even if I don't get to take part, thank you, just for putting this out there!!!

  • martasmith1

    Marta Smith said 4 years ago

    This is truly amazing and even brought tears into my eyes. This is exactly what women need. This is exactly what I need. Does anyone know when this retreat would be?

  • lilyravenvintage

    Susan from lilyravenvintage said 4 years ago

    Kudos to you Etsy! No wonder I feel so happy and cheerful when I'm on Etsy - of course - it's mostly made up of women! The nurturing, cooperative, joyous outlook of the female soul is apparent everywhere. Good for you to actually take steps to honor that with Hacker school. I'm also touched to see how many young women are just sooo ready to take the challenge. I'm from the hippie generation and beleve me, there are so many more opportunities for women now than there were then - good luck to all of you!

  • allieinwonder

    Alisa Erkes from AllieBlankets said 4 years ago

    This is SO AWESOME! I am a seller here on Etsy, but my career field is Computer Science. I am a female "hacker"! I SOOOO wish I could apply and come to New York for three months.....but my husband would hate it if I did! Maybe in a few years when we are out of the U.S. Military and I need to strengthen myself for a job....

  • MiamiSun

    MiamiSun from MiamiSun said 4 years ago

    That's great news for those that are really interested in technology. It's a tough field, you really have to like it! Good luck to those selected.

  • lovelylizziesdesigns

    Liz from lovelylizziesdesigns said 4 years ago

    Wow! Sounds great

  • yawapi

    Lilly Sanovia said 4 years ago

    Love it! I would love to attend something like this - I'm cert A+, Network+, Security +, FCC license - this is right up my alley, but alas, I have 3 little kids and I won't leave them behind or move them to NY for the summer. Any chance of some online content for women who have family obligations that prevent them from doing something like this in person?

  • yawapi

    Lilly Sanovia said 4 years ago

    I'm a woman in STEM, (Earth and Atmospheric science) and I've not seen very much outright hostility towards women, what I see more is that the culture is not family-friendly and women often have family obligations that tend to be more encompassing than many men's family obligations. I think if the culture changed to allow for and have respect for work-life balance, you'd see women more willing to enter STEM fields.

  • MagicFromTheHeart

    Zoe Kozlowski said 4 years ago

    Wish I lived in NY ....what a great opportunity!

  • carolinedahl

    Caroline Dahl said 4 years ago

    The deadline for this opportunity has passed, which is unfortunate for me. I think this is a superb initiative, and I hope you find the women that you seek. I also hope that you run this initiative again, so that I have a chance to apply. With best wishes from the UK - /caroline

  • wisestep

    akilesh kumar said 4 years ago

    really nice post that it's mostly made up of women! The nurturing, cooperative, joyous

  • wisestep

    akilesh kumar said 4 years ago

    free job posting at

  • geezerwicket

    Magee Mooney said 3 years ago

    Are you considering this again for 2014?

  • JacquelineHoman

    JacquelineHoman said 2 years ago

    I was eager to apply for one of the 2014 sessions, until some red flags screamed out to me "We don't serve your kind." The only women I see represented among alumni are rich women with Ivy League degrees and past opportunities in other prestiguous jobs - all stuff that is as out of reach for poor, marginalized women as a daytrip to Sedna. It is poor, marginalized and abused women who are in the most need of these opportunities, yet we are the very demographic that is DENIED those opportunities by those who stand on their privileges to keep us from having a fair fighting chance—while claiming to be concerned about equality and gender balance in STEM jobs. Privilege is not caring that there is a problem because it doesn't affect you. And you don’t get more disempowered, marginalized and disprivileged than being a poor woman who is a sex trafficking victim. I was orphaned at 13, and abruptly left homeless and trafficked, escaped when I was 17, and have been struggling ever since to rebuild my stolen and ruined life—in that order. In THIS country. On the streets of Philadelphia, PA. I will turn 47 years old this May. I was a victim of sex trafficking long before there was an anti-trafficking movement. As a result of a prostitution record (i.e. I was arrested for selling sex I could not legally consent to having in the first place) which followed me FOR LIFE, a record that I would not have had I NOT been kidnapped by adults who then sold rape tickets to other adults, I spent the past THREE DECADES of my life in dire poverty. Even the job opportunities available to non-trafficked women were denied to me. For years, I suffered eating out of garbage cans, salvaging for scrap metal just to get barely enough money to stay alive; having all my top teeth rot out of my head by age 30 for lack of access to dental care (which left me unable to even get a minimum wage job at McDogfood's or Wal-Fart's during my younger working-age years); cycling in and out of homelessness, suffering an ENTIRE LIFETIME from not being able to get jobs (or keep them for very long) so I could support myself and rebuild my life, no matter how hard I tried and no matter what I did to make myself "worthy" of a chance for a job—meaning that for the past 30 years, I was PREVENTED from being to earn a living to support myself no matter what I tried to do to make myself “worthy” of a chance, and hence I was left unable to pay anything into social security so at least I will have that to survive on IF I live to see age 65. If not for an older eccentric widower on social security disability who was willing to marry me so at least I'd have a house (albeit without heat and hot water), I'd have ended up DEAD long before now—FROM POVERTY. Today, I am 46 years old and will turn 47 this May. I have been struggling to learn computer programming amidst extreme poverty that makes ever day a struggle just to NOT die. Add to that eye strain—I have glaucoma which I am unable to get treated regularly without having to literally BEG for donations from the public at large so I hopefully won't have to end up BLIND too on top of everything else. My job prospects are slim to none because now I am "too old" so NO ONE will hire me—after suffering an entire lifetime of life-threatening, soul-crushing poverty from total social exclusion, from being unable to get a job because of being criminalized and stigmatized for being a VICTIM of socially approved commercial rape. And that is exactly what prostitution is: COMMERCIAL RAPE—an industry that exists because privileged white men would rather force women to be poor and pressed into sexual slavery than give up any of their privileges so that someone else's daughter isn't forced to take beatings, endure sexual torture and give blowjobs just to afford a hamburger. This society loves to talk about how we should all "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps." It was under this same society's watch that my shoes got stolen when I was 13 and thrown up over the wires on a utility pole, and then this same society enacted laws and abusive social and economic policies (including UNFAIR hiring practices!) that made it downright impossible for me to get a ladder and get my shoes back so at least I'd have something to "pull myself up by my bootstraps" with. Think about that for a minute. I am white but I am not from the middle class, and about the only way I could have had it any worse as a poor woman who is a sex trafficking survivor is if I were black or aboriginal on top of having had all this shit happen to me that this entire society caused and allows to continue and still REFUSES to make right. When destitute women who are sex trafficking survivors are not getting our needs met as a matter of law and social and economic policy and unfair hiring practices that penalize us for what was done TO us by others, often for the rest of our entire lives long after escaping from our traffickers, our demand for some real equality of opportunity and some economic support and access to medical care is NOT a "handout" any more than Holocaust reparations were a handout—it is REPARATIONS for what this society (which continues to protect rapists known as 'johns' whose money drives the commercial rape trade) is COLLECTIVELY responsible for doing to us through punitive laws and abusive social and economic and public policies. My entire life was STOLEN and DESTROYED under society's watch and with society's full blessing and support. Reparations for the systemic oppression of an entire lifetime of opportunities and basic needs denied is NOT a "handout." And no, I'm sorry, but just because I was lucky enough to escape my traffickers 30 years ago, only to be left hungry, sick and cold and destitute for the rest of my life - that is NOT justice—contrary to what many class-privileged charity executives told me when I begged for life-saving help (that I am not getting) so I could get heat in my 40-degree home so I wouldn't die from the cold after my old used donated pellet stove died three weeks ago. NOT being trafficked and left injured, chronically ill or dead is NOT a "luxury" that those with middle/upper class white male privilege are expected to earn. Not being trafficked, tortured, raped, forcibly impregnated and/or forcibly infected with deadly incurable STD's and killed, or condemned to total social exclusion and life-threatening poverty because of being stigmatized for what was done TO us (for those of us who managed to escape that torture and slavery), is a HUMAN RIGHT we ALL deserve. Ed Drain, a combat vet and anti-trafficking activist who is also a computer programmer, fought like hell to get me to the point of having enough hope to be willing to try learning yet another new skill—software development—that should, in theory, open doors for me. Whether it does or not remains to be seen. I have my doubts. Because I don’t see women like me with ZERO privilege who have had NO opportunities in life being welcomed into apprenticeships, places like Hacker School, and lucrative IT jobs, no matter how smart and hardworking we are. I had lost all hope years ago of every being able to rebuild my stolen life. If even a Bachelors degree in mathematics and an impressive writing portfolio of five self-published books failed to open any doors for me because of a prostitution "past" that I did not have any agency in choosing, why would the additional skill of software developer result in a different outcome for me this time? The IT field is dominated by young rich white males under age 30 who never wanted poor women to have anything—let alone real equality of opportunities for good jobs in computer programming an software development. I probably won't be able to get a job with this new skill because now I am "too old" and also too poor and therefore unable to socially fit in with that type of workplace culture that has not given me any reason to believe that a poor older lady like me who is a sex trafficking survivor that suffered an entire lifetime of total disprivilege would ever be hired and made welcome while the most mediocre white middle and upper class males are. (So much for the meritocracy LIE).

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