Make sure to check out this article, excerpted below, by Matt Petronzio of Mashable about how to invest in girls by empowering them to learn coding—the language of the future—so they will be part of a revolution in STEM careers.
Petronzio discusses the progress we’ve made so far, hurdles we must still overcome, what the average person can do and much more. We’ve included just the first below. See the full article for the other seven points as well as statistics, inspiration and ideas about what you can do to help encourage and empower some of our brightest girls.
1. Know the specific barriers we need to overcome.
Before anything, you need to understand the systemic obstacles preventing girls from getting into coding. Both a culture that persistently ignores and discourages girls’ abilities in computer science, and the lack of access to tools and education, play influential roles.
Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, says it’s deeply ingrained in our culture to let it be OK for girls to say they don’t like math and science.
“We almost sensationalize it in culture for girls to promote that,” she tells Mashable. “You can walk into a Forever 21 and buy a T-shirt that says ‘I’m allergic to algebra’ … You’re always showcasing these really smart girls hiding their intelligence when it comes to math and science.”
If girls can’t see themselves in these professions, Saujani adds, they’re not going to choose to pursue them. And that also extends to inside classrooms, where coding is rarely offered to students in general, much less focusing on girls — an obstacle Code.org founder and CEO Hadi Partovi says is equally as significant as culture.
“If you enter a classroom and you see 18 boys and two girls, you automatically think, ‘I’m in the wrong place and I’m not welcome,'” Partovi says. “And that makes it harder.”
Read the rest of the article here. Also check out CodeGirl, a documentary from award-winning filmmaker Lesley Chilcott that follows teams from the thousands of girls around the world taking part in the Global Technovation Challenge by building apps that help their communities.