February 6, 2013

Get Your Geek On: Girls who code

This program is trying to bridge the gender gap in computer engineering.

Leilani: Technology is a way of life for just about everybody – guys and girls. But when it comes to its creators, there is still a pretty big gender gap. Some young women are trying to change that.

Expert: This country is really rooted in technology and engineering, and we see a real problem when women are not at the table creating, innovating and developing these new technologies that will dictate our lives.

Leilani: It turns out, only about one in seven computer engineers and coders is female. Coding is giving instructions to a computer so that it can perform different tasks, like build websites, mobile apps and robots.

Women make up more than half of college graduates, yet less than 12% of all computer science related degrees. Some say that the real divide isn’t in competence, but in confidence.

Expert: They’re receiving messages that they’re not supposed to be in this sector, they’re not supposed to be interested in technology and the maths and sciences.

Leilani: Girls Who Code is a new organization working to close the digital gender divide.

Girls Who Code participant: We’re learning HTML, a little bit of JavaScript.

Girls Who Code participant: We went to Facebook, we went to Gilt Groupe, we went to Google.

Leilani: Twenty high school girls representing over twelve ethnicities are meeting for an eight-week program in New York.

Girls Who Code participant: It’s, like, very fun and, like, free because we don’t really have boundaries on what we can think. Like, let’s say you want to build a website. You get to choose what things you need in that website, what you want it to look like and whatever you want your user experience to be like.

Leilani: Classes are taught by female engineers and business professionals.

Girls Who Code participant: Just because you’re female doesn’t mean you can’t go into this field and you can’t accomplish anything. It showed me that I can do that too.

Expert: This is a really big moment for us.

Leilani: A big moment for all, as we see more efforts to integrate girls into the tech world.

Leilani Rapaport for Channel One News.


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