Computers and coding is no longer a boys' club. Today's digitally connected girl is growing up with computers where new opportunities such as coding will be the norm. To support this movement, Google recently launched Made with Code, a new initiative designed to inspire millions of girls to write their own future with code.
This included a launch event that included a special presentation with supporters such as Chelsea Clinton, Mindy Kaling, MIT Media Lab, National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), Seventeen and TechCrunch, and performances byIcona PopandiLuminate, and more, with over 150 girls from local NYC clubs (including Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Inc., Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code) in attendance.
The initiative will aim to inspire millions of girls to learn to code, and to help them see coding as a means to pursue their dream careers. Coding is the new literacy and gives you great power to create, innovate and quite literally change the world, but surprisingly few girls (<1% of high school girls) see computer science as part of their future.
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As a part of this program, Made with Code includes:
- Blockly-based coding projects like designing a bracelet 3D printed by Shapeways, learning to create animated GIFs or building beats for a music track.
- Video profiles of girls and women who explain how they’re using code to do what they love -- in fashion, music, dance, animation, cancer research and more.
- A resource directory for parents and girls to find more information about new local events, camps, classes and clubs.
- Collaborations with organizations like Girl Scouts of the USA and Girls, Inc. to introduce Made with Code to girls in their networks, encouraging them to complete their first coding experience.
All of this attempts to solve a fast-growing problem in computer science. "I think coding is cool, but most girls don't. Less than 1 percent of high school girls see computer science as part of their future,” said Mindy Kaling, the actress, comedian and writer. “Made with Code lets girls see coding not just as something they can do, but something they'd love to do."
“When I received my first computer in the mid-80s, women comprised 37 percent of CS graduates. Today, despite ever-increasing job opportunities, it’s less than 16 percent. We need to help girls see themselves as the next generation of coders, and, with efforts like Made with Code and the No Ceilings Initiative, make sure there’s full participation in technology’s future.” — Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation.
Google is also committing $50 million over three years to support programs working to increase gender diversity in CS. We’re piloting a project with DonorsChoose.org to reward teachers that support girls who take CS courses on Codecademy or Khan Academy. We’re also working with the Science and Entertainment Exchange to encourage more female engineer characters depicted family TV and film. This is just a first step, and it builds on the $40 million we’ve invested since 2010 in organizations like Code.org, Black Girls Code, Technovation and Girls Who Code.
These efforts are based on Google’s new nationwide research, which shows that CS exposure is crucial in pre-college years, parental encouragement is key and that girls who have positive perceptions of CS as a career, and understand its potential for social impact, are much more likely to pursue it.
"The numbers hurt: Women constitute more than half of the professional workforce, but only a quarter of workforce in tech,” said Lucy Sanders, CEO, and co-founder of NCWIT. "It's a problem, bordering on a crisis. We won't solve it easily, or quickly. But Made with Code is a great step in the direction of reversing this trend, and getting more and more girls to use coding to accomplish amazing things by doing what they love."
Be sure to check out the Made with Code website, where you will discover fun coding projects like designing a bracelet 3D printed by Shapeways, learning to create animated GIFs or building beats for a music track.
Momtrends was not paid for this post. We were invited to attend the event.