Think about a room full of software engineers at Google, chances are you picture a room of predominately white men and the truth is you are not wrong (I mean c’mon look at HBO’s hit TV show Silicon Valley). The gender disparity between men and women in computer science careers are growing and people do not have an exact answer why. Some attribute it to lack of appeal, alienating female prospects and social constructs that certain jobs “are just for men.” From 1984-2014 the number of women studying computer science dropped 18 percent. Considering that in 30 years the digital age came with vengeance and now is integrated into our lives one might expect it to have increased.
The nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code, mission is “to close the gender gap in technology.” The short mission statement is impactful and encompasses everything that the organization is striving for.
Girls Who Code CEO, Reshma Saujani, wrote in a letter, “We’ve reached a moment unmatched in our history, a moment as full of anger and anguish as it is promise and potential. Women and girls across the country are coming together to correct centuries-long power imbalances across lines of gender, race, sexuality, and more.”
The organization strives to shrink the gap between men and women in computer science related careers and has served over 90,000 girls with age ranges from elementary to post college in all 50 states in six years.
The interest and ability to code for girls drops off between 13 to 17 years old. Girls Who Code wants to keep that interest going and offers many introductory courses and immersion programs for girls between the ages of 10 and 18. Alumni of the organization choose computer science majors or other related fields at a rate of 15 times the national average.
Jobs in tech are one of the quickest growing industries in the nation, yet the gap between men and women pursuing careers in computer science is widening. Girls Who Code dedication to closing the gap is vital to building a society enriched with inclusiveness and diversity.