When I joined Mapbox over a year and a half ago, our thirty-odd person team included just two other women (making us about 9% female). Now our rapidly-growing team is over 30% female, thanks to the continued efforts of every single team member in finding exceptional people across diverse communities. However, the widening gender gap in tech is a major obstacle to maintaining a diversity of perspectives within the industry.

That’s why we sponsor and support the valuable work of organizations like ProjectCSGIRLS, who are addressing this systemic problem at the source. ProjectCSGIRLS is a nonprofit that runs the largest computer science competition for middle school girls in the United States, with an aim to cultivate an interest in science, math, and technology during this formative period. It’s not just a competition, but a supportive system of workshops, mentorships, and other resources.

Lindsay and Tatiana at the ProjectCSGIRLS Virginia/DC workshop

I’m particularly inspired by ProjectCSGIRLS because it’s founded and run by high school and college students: amazing young women who are forging that critical link between the professional world ahead of them and the girls who will soon be in their shoes.

This past weekend, ProjectCSGIRLS held its 2015 national award gala in DC for the finalists, which included a Women in Tech panel. As a panelist, I spoke alongside women from different fields and backgrounds, from bioinformatics to food safety to data journalism. Mapbox women, myself included, have also participated in ProjectCSGIRLS regional workshops, and we’re excited to find more ways to support the competition in the future.

Women in Tech panel at the ProjectCSGIRLS National Gala

Are you involved in an organized effort to foster the next generation of women in tech? Let us know about it! Hit me up @nickidlugash.