According to LinkedIn, the most in-demand skill for 2017 will be computing. This comes as no surprise since tech jobs have become the highest paid in the US and in other parts of the world. Sadly, despite the rising number of people going into computing, less than a quarter are females…and that number is actually on the decline. With most households reliant on two breadwinners, we need to ensure that we’re providing both men and women with the skills needed for the careers which will be most in-demand.
Attempts to bridge the gender gap have been taken, mainly by making computer science more accessible in schools. However according to research conducted by Accenture and Girls Who Code, these programs are generally focused solely on more exposure, and are not enough to attract young girls into studying computer science.
The solution? Make computer science programs more appealing to young girls…and that’s exactly what Girls Who Code is trying to do.
The Girls Who Code mission
Girls Who Code is a non-profit organization that aims to close the gender gap in technology through education. More than aiming for gender equality, their bigger objective is to tap into the immense pool of female talent which is imperative in reducing the national digital skills shortage.
The organization estimates that the number of females in computing can be tripled with its approach of making the computer sciences more attractive to girls in junior high, and by sustaining that interest throughout high school. In its projection, up to 3.9 million women could be working in computing by 2025 –that’s a 24-39% increase in proportion compared to the 1.2 million women in computing today. This increase also creates an upswing in women’s cumulative earnings by $299 billion.
What’s accomplished in Girls Who Code Clubs
Girls Who Code works to achieve its goal of building the largest pipeline of female engineers in the US with over 40,000 alumni, which is four times the number of college computer science graduates each year. These alumni are products of their clubs, which are after-school programs designed for girls in the 6-12th grades. The programs educate girls to use computer science to create a positive impact in their community, and inspire them through a sisterhood of like-minded peers and role models.
Some of the projects spearheaded by these programs include Green Bean (a mobile app that allows people to track their environmental impact), Reciplease (a web-based application that churns out recipes based on ingredients you already have in your kitchen), and In the Eyes of a Refugee (an informative website on the Syrian refugee crisis.) These are just three of the thousands of awesome projects that girls are working on in the clubs.
How to start a Girls Who Code Club in your community
Girls Who Code after-school programs can be hosted by schools, universities, libraries, community centers, faith-based organizations, or other non-profit organizations.
Anyone over the age of 18 who has teaching experience and the ability to dedicate 3-4 hours per week can start a club. To get started, you must first apply to facilitate through their website.
You will then have access to their self-guided curriculum, which is created so that anyone with teaching experience can facilitate a club–no computer science experience required.
If you are interested in becoming a facilitator or know someone who might be but doesn’t have the equipment, don’t be discouraged! Head over to the site to learn about Club Sponsors, and see if you can get matched up with people who have the equipment and space but are in need of facilitators to run the program.
If you’ve worked with Girls Who Code or would like to, please share your questions and experiences in the comments!
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Girls Who Code through Syndicate Ads to help spread the word about their resources and mission. I only blog about organizations that I have used or would recommend that other educators use.
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