Gina Tripani, Marissa Mayer, Nicole Sullivan, Sarah Allen, Danielle Feinberg, Leah Culver, Hilary Mason, Jeri Ellsworth, Pamela Fox, Emily Chang, Danese Cooper, Amanda Wixted, Laura Thompson, Sarah Chipps, Alison Gianotto... These are just a few of the most recognizable names in tech. Geniuses, specialists and experts in their fields. Developers, programmers and engineers who are responsible for the content, tools, apps, and systems that make your life easier, and sometimes just fun. They are the CEO of Yahoo, the creator of LifeHacker, ThinkTank, the designer of FarmVille for iOS, and so much more. They are intelligent, capable, forward thinkers who don't quit, never surrender. They are well educated, some self taught, and all are leaders. And in case you haven't noticed, they all happen to be women.
Even with their female compatriats and colleagues, they only represent an insanely small fraction of a fraction of the overall talent in the tech community. They are the exceptions to the rule, the outliers of a well known and oft ignored fact: Technology is a male dominated industry, from first year programmers to CEO's. Men rule the industry. Google, along with a few other companies, aims to change that.
Google's "Made w/ Code" initiative is a call to action and appeal to girls to give science and coding a chance. It aims to encourage and foster a culture that encourages girls to explore computer sciences and learn to code. Google is collaborating with the MIT Media Lab, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of the USA, Seventeen, TechCrunch, Mindy Kaling & the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). The project will have girls designing bracelets 3D printed by Shapeways, learning to create animated GIFs or building beats for a music track. Additional projects will include:
- Video profiles of girls and women who explain how they’re using code to do what they love -- in fashion, music, dance, animation, cancer research and more.
- A resource directory for parents and girls to find more information about new local events, camps, classes and clubs.
- Collaborations with organizations like Girl Scouts of the USA and Girls, Inc. to introduce Made with Code to girls in their networks, encouraging them to complete their first coding experience.
“Coding is a new literacy and it gives people the potential to create, innovate and quite literally change the world,” said Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube. “We’ve got to show all girls that computer science is an important part of their future, and that it’s a foundation to pursue their passions, no matter what field they want to enter. Made with Code is a great step toward doing that.” Google's Press Release states, "All of this attempts to solve a fast-growing problem in computer science. "I think coding is cool, but most girls don't. Less than 1 percent of high school girls see computer science as part of their future,” said Mindy Kaling, the actress, comedian and writer. “Made with Code lets girls see coding not just as something they can do, but something they'd love to do." "
This is by far not the first endeavor to foster a love of computer sciences and its career potentials to girls. The Women's Coding Collective is a web development community with a mission to narrow the gender gap in technology. As stated on their site, "We cultivate supportive, no-stupid-questions environments where women can learn, build, and code together."
We live in a world where new technologies are announced almost every single day, and the opportunities abound for everyone. It is important that we bridge the technology gender gap by encouraging girls to see the potential opportunities in their future. Want to help? Support one of these organizations:
Or if you want to start small, here is an idea: Next time you are thinking of buying a pink or purple toy, or a Barbie or Frozen doll for your little girl, buy her a science kit. Watch how much fun, gratification and accomplishment she gets out of chemical reactions or electrical experiments. Let's raise the next generation of geniuses, developers and engineers, the women who will reshape our world in the coming decades.