Girl code just took on a whole new meaning! Just when you thought the world of computer coding was limited to your geeky, pocket-protector-wearing male classmates, Google created their new program “Made With Code” to change that perception. The search engine behemoth has invested $50 million over the next three years in programs, like “Made With Code,” that aim to get young girls interested in learning how to code.
“Made With Code,” which already has a list of impressive partners — Chelsea Clinton, Mindy Kaling, Girl Scouts of The USA and Girls, Inc., to name a few. And backers will provide resources to girls through a website that features regional tech event announcements, projects to practice code and virtual communities that allow tech discussions and exchanges.
Some of the projects that girls can get into on “Made With Code” include Blockly-based coding, music production and GIF creation. Along with the program, Google plans on rewarding teachers who encourage girls to take computer science courses on CodeAcademy or Khan Academy. But, they also want young girls to be more exposed to role models in media. The “Made With Code” website features video interviews with female tech innovators who are blazing the trail, and Google will work with the Science and Entertainment Exchange to ensure that more female engineer characters are depicted on the big screen.
Google’s efforts and its “Code” program stem from its mission to close the gender gap in the male-dominated tech industry. According to one study, men hold 75 percent of the 2 million computing-based jobs nationwide, while women make up less than 16 percent of Computer Science college graduates. “I think coding is cool, but most girls don’t,” actress Mindy Kaling said at the “Made With Code” launch event. “Less than 1 percent of high school girls see computer science as part of their future. “Made with Code” lets girls see coding not just as something they can do, but something they’d love to do.” According to Google’s own study, a young girl’s exposure to computer science before she goes to college will make her more likely to pursue tech as a career option.
I’m personally super excited that Google wants more women in the tech industry and are executing concrete plans to get them interested. I can vividly remember dreading math and science while I was in middle school, but spending hours on the computer after school. Technology is involved in nearly every aspect of our lives, from dating to beauty, and teaching girls how to take advantage of technology for their own personal (maybe even financial) benefit is extraordinary. Hopefully, this initiative will attract more Black girls to the wonderful world of coding.
After all, we already have a few amazing women, like Black Girls Code Founder Kimberly Bryant, that girls can looks up, so why not invest in young women who’ll continue the innovation?
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