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KKR joins Girls Who Code’s effort to close gender gap in computing

The Girls Who Code immersion program aims to open doors for women in a male-dominated field.

KKR, two of its portfolio companies and KKR employees are taking steps to open doors for women in the young man's network of technology companies through a new partnership aimed at closing the gender gap in computing.

As a new partner for the non-profit Girls Who Code, KKR & Co. LP in May matched employee donations to Girls Who Code at a 2-to-1 rate through its matching gifts program. The total amount raised was unavailable at press time.

At the same time, KKR portfolio companies First Data Corp. and GoDaddy Inc. will each sponsor a summer immersion program for Girls Who Code. A total of 40 girls will be offered a free, seven-week program of immersive instruction in web development and design, robotics and mobile development.

Some 26% of senior leaders executives and 21% of technology employees at GoDaddy are women, said Dan C. Race, GoDaddy spokesman, in an email. The percentage of female executives at First Data could not be learned by press time.

KKR's program started through the efforts of Gwendoline Tilghman, an associate, and Ted Oberwager, director. Both are on KKR's technology, media and communications investment team. In a recent blog post on KKR's website, Ms. Tilghman, who received a degree in electrical engineering and economics at Yale University, said she noticed the gender gap that she experienced in her studies was echoed at technology companies she came across in her career at KKR.

“It struck me that KKR, with its broad platform and scale, could make a unique corporate partner for Girls Who Code — one that extended well beyond the four walls of KKR,” she wrote. “In the future we plan to expand the program more broadly throughout our portfolio — after all, this is not just a technology issue, this is an every-company issue.”

This article originally appeared in the June 12, 2017 print issue as, "KKR joins Girls Who Code's effort to close gender gap in computing".