Google Wants More Young Girls To Code

Google Wants More Young Girls To Code
WDnetStudio / Pixabay

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) ((NASDAQ:GOOG) is undertaking a new public service initiative called ‘Made with Code,’ aimed at encouraging girls to become computer programmers. The launch includes a new website and a grand opening event in the Big Apple, and the program itself involves $50 million earmarked for scholarships and activities such as ‘girl coding parties’.

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Google’s Made With Code initiative

The new Made With Code website features several female technology icons and a variety of coding lessons for girls, including a lesson for using code to make bracelets. The website also has a database listing U.S. schools with coding programs for girls. Google Inc has also invited 150 girls to a Made with Code grand opening event in NYC, where indie rocker Icona Pop will perform live and female programmers will demonstrate how they use code, such as creating games, animated movies or designer fabrics.

As a part of the initiative, Google Inc is also giving away $50 million in scholarships to girls who would like to take up programming in college, as well as grants for girl-coding parties for Girl Scouts and Boys and Girls Clubs nationwide.

The Made With Code program is a partnership with Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization that operates summer coding schools for girls, and The Clinton Foundation, which encourages full participation by girls and women in all aspects of society.

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Programming dominated by males

Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show the computer science is growing rapidly, with more than 4.2 million jobs projected by 2020. That said, less than 1% of female high school students even consider a career as a programmer. The College Board reports that out of the 30,000 students who took the computer science Advanced Placement test in 2013, less than 20% were female.

The situation doesn’t look any better in the workforce, as according to the BLS, only about 30% of computer science professionals are women.

Another perspective

Brian Fagioli of BetaNews offers another perspective on the Made With Code initiative. He says, “Both boys and girls should feel proud of accomplishments made by men and women equally. Boys should be just as empowered and inspired as girls when watching videos showing the accomplishments of these women. Google’s launching of an initiative that segments people based on sex and gender arguably has the opposite effect than what it intends.”

Fagioli’s main point is that Google is some sense reinforcing female stereotypes as much as breaking them down. “Google seems to think that showcasing women that code will empower these girls, and maybe it will. But rather than teach what a woman can do, why not teach both boys and girls that gender and sex mean nothing when it comes to coding? Show them what human beings can do.”

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  1. Google should want coders to be people who like to code. It takes a certain type of person to want to sit and code. Computers have been around for decades and if women want to get into this field there are more than enough options for them. It is highly unlikely that someone without a basic knowledge of what coding is, would somehow be swayed by Google pushing it in schools. I really don’t see a reason why a company would be looking to push one gender over another.

    For example:
    In 2008 there were over 3 million registered nurses in the US. Out of that number only 6.6% of those were men. As I man I see nothing represented by that number other than the fact most men don’t want to pursue a career in nursing. Could we hit the high schools hard and really push nursing to males and maybe get that number up? Yes. Should we? No. We should want nursing to be filled with people who seek out the job and really want to do. If that means 93.4% of those people will be women then so be it.

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