Girls Who Code: Addressing Solutions Needed to Spark Girls' Interest in Computer Science

Contributed by Girls Who Code

As part of CSEdWeek, Girls Who Code has released a new video, entitled The Problem with Brogrammers, to address the significance of tech on our economy and culture. The video skewers the stereotype that code is simply for food delivery, laundry, and cleaning apps and instead encourages Silicon Valley, especially young girls, to use code to change the world.

The video could not be more timely. Computing is where the jobs are — and where they will be in the future -- with demand growing 3X the national average. However, new research with Accenture suggests that women’s share of jobs in computing will decline from 24% today to 22% in the next ten years if we don’t do anything. A computing skills shortage is already challenging the U.S. economy; half a million jobs in computing were available in 2015 but only 40,000 computer science graduates were available to fill them. This skills shortage is a tremendous challenge for the U.S. economy and our global competitiveness. 

The lack of women in computing careers begins in adolescence, when teenage girls start to lose interest in coding. Research shows that one key reason girls lose interest is that they want to pursue careers that are about helping people and making a difference in the world, but they don’t see coding as a way to achieve those goals. “We’re in a moment as a country when we need our programmers and technologists to help tackle our most urgent problems, from climate change to immigration, education, and healthcare.” says Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. “Yet in the past, Silicon Valley has been too busy creating technology to make life easier for the most privileged, essentially replacing their moms rather than taking on our society's most pressing challenges. We know that more girls would be interested in coding if the field focused on making our communities better. This video is a call to action for programmers to take up our most urgent work -- as a country and as a world -- and for girls to be inspired to learn to code so they too can change the world.”

Girls Who Code LogoGirls Who Code’s after-school Clubs address the solutions needed to spark girls’ interest in computer science and inspire them to pursue a career in computing where they can use technology to make a difference. Clubs are free after-school programs for 6-12th grade girls to learn to use computer science to impact their community and join a supportive sisterhood of peers and role models. The curriculum focuses on a Computer Science Impact Project, where girls solve a problem relevant to their Club and community through computer science. In order to complete the project, they learn the Core4 computer science concepts that form the basis for all computer programming languages, whether they build a mobile app, a website, or program a robot.

We encourage you, too, to use technology to help your community and the world. You can do so by starting or joining a Girls Who Code Club in your area, donating to Girls Who Code or spreading the word about the movement to close the gender gap.