Etsy’s community is famously female-driven, so it makes sense that the company would look to women in hosting a developer initiative, as well.

The company is an online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, and it boasts a huge audience of women — lady crafters, lady artists, lady online retailers, lady shoppers. Bringing lady developers into the conversation isn’t just an affirmative action move to get more women involved in tech; it’s an acknowledgement that Etsy is, to a huge extent, a marketplace populated by women, and Etsy wants to give more women “behind the curtain” access on the tech side, as well.

Etsy’s newly announced Hacker Grant will bring a class of developers to the startup’s Brooklyn headquarters for the summer, where they will hone and perfect their coding skills. For women who need financial support to participate in the summerlong program, ten grants of $5,000 each will be awarded to ten lucky hackers.

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The program is being conducted in partnership with Hacker School a full-time summer school in New York. Hacker School is open to any participants, male or female. The organizers are hoping to bring in 40 participants this year, and they’re aiming for a 50/50 gender split. The Etsy grants are simply an extra incentive for women to join the summer school.

The idea for the grants was spearheaded by Etsy engineering VP Marc Hedlund. The Hacker School team said female and male applicants will be held to the same programming standards (a.k.a., no “girls’ handicap”).

“I’ve spent the last several years in heavily male-dominated environments,” writes Hacker School co-founder Nick Bergson-Shilcock on the program’s blog. “I think about them whenever I’m in a room of programmers and there’s only one woman. No matter how welcoming and friendly the environment, you burn at least a few cycles being cognizant of the fact you’re different from most of the people around you.”

The Etsy/Hacker School program is free for anyone who wants to attend, and it begins on June 4, 2012. Applications are open now for the summer batch, and interested women programmers can apply now for an Etsy Hacker Grant.

Top image courtesy of StockLite, Shutterstock