Programs Teach Girls to Code, Hoping for More Female Computer Scientists

April 3, 2013  |  

With all the gains women and girls have made in the last few decades, there are still precious few in computer science, but more and more programs are hoping to change that, the New York Times reported. Girls Who Code, Hackbright Academy and Girl Develop It are reaching out to girls in middle school and high school to show they can be computer scientists, too.

While the lack of women in technology areas, the problem has gotten worse. According to the Times, “Women earn just 12 percent of computer science degrees, down from 37 percent in 1984.” Part of the problem is research has shown girls think of computer scientists as nerdy guys who work alone in basements; unable to relate to this image, they turn away from tech. Even as companies and colleges actively go after girls, the interest doesn’t seem to be there. New programs that teach girls to code hope to cultivate the interest early with the basic skills computer scientists need and then get women into tech jobs later in life. One female executive at a Silicon Valley venture capital firm said, “The dividing line is learning to code. You either tell the computer what to do and you’ve got lots of great career options. Or the computer tells you what to do and you end up working in a shoe store.”

Programs teaching girls coding and other key computer skills see their enrollment growing rapidly and have been getting attention from Twitter, Google, Intel and other big companies.

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