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Can Google Crack the Code for More Female Computer Scientists?

June 25, 2014
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Can Google Crack the Code for More Female Computer Scientists?
woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons
With so few women in the industry, the internet giant launches the "Made with Code" campaign.

With technology being such a booming and prevalent industry, it does seem a bit odd that, in general, it’s failed to reach such an important demographic: Girls.

As females make a large impact in colleges and in the workforce (more than 40 percent of women are their family’s breadwinner), they have been unable to make their break in the computer science industry. Which is why companies like Google and other nonprofits are looking to reverse that trend.

Computer science is one of the fastest growing fields with job projection numbers poised to reach 4.2 million by 2020, yet less than 1 percent of high school girls are interested in it. Additionally, the number of women in the computer science industry dropped from 37 percent in 1980s to 18 percent now. Furthermore, only 7 percent of venture capitalist deals go to female founders and CEOs, and only 20 percent of the 300,000 students in AP computer science classes are girls.

Which is why Google is now stepping in and launching its “Made with Code” campaign targeting girls. The first component is a video featuring girls meeting President Obama. In the background, a voice says: “You are a girl who understands bits exist to be assembled. When you learn to code, you can assemble anything that you see missing. And in so doing, you will fix something, or change something, or invent something, or run something, and maybe that’s how you will play your bit in this world.”

An interactive website is next. Featured on the site are bios of female role models who write software that designs fabrics or choreographs dances. The site also has entertaining coding lessons and a directory of coding programs — all aimed at young women.

Google is also offering $50 million in grants as well as partnering with nonprofits, such as Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that was started two years ago and organizes girls’ summer coding institutes.

Google’s initiative is a great first step, and hopefully with the support of additional groups, the numbers of female coders will grow.

MORE: The Small Act That Makes a Big Impact on Young Girls

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