Why It’s Important to Get Girls Involved in Tech

Folks, I’ve been supporting an effort to get women and girls involved in tech for some time now, with support for orgs like Girls Who Code and Black Girls CODE. I’ve also done some work with Roya Mahboob and the New Delhi-based Feminist Approach to Technology. And, I’ve been working with The Women’s Building in SF. Check out this map to see where we’ve teched across the globe…

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings. To reach gender parity by 2020, women have gotta fill half of these positions, or 700,000 computing jobs. Right now, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but hold only 25% of the jobs in tech or computing fields (according to Girls Who Code).

This is why it’s important to get girls involved in tech now.

girls who code

Here are 5 other reasons we need to focus on teaching girls about tech:

  1. In middle school, 74% of girls show interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.3% of high school girls select computer science. If we encouraged girls to code and to get involved in tech, more girls might start majoring in computer science.  For example, 100% of girls who participated in Girls Who Code’s 2012 program report that they’re definitely or more likely to major in computer science after taking the program.
  2. Today, women represent 12% of all computer science graduates. In 1984, they represented 37%. This number should be increasing.black girls code
  3. When we create technology and tech products, we create for the masses. By having a male perspective consistently leading and developing tech, we’re building this through the lens of men and their perspective not the masses.
  4. “The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.”- Charles MalikThat is, we’re living in a very small period of tremendous social change, where the people who are best prepared, who have the best listening and cooperative skills should get their chance of running things.

    I don’t think we’ll see revolution, we’ll see a rebalancing of power, shifting from traditional sources of power (authority and money) to power based on the size and effectiveness of one’s network.

  5. Although the digital divide’s steadily eroding, tremendous barriers to entry in the technology field still remain for women of color. Black Girls CODE notes that early access and exposure are essential to changing the status quo.

Google launched an initiative last month called Made With Code, with the goal of getting young women excited about learning to code in an effort to close the gender gap in the tech industry. Google’s investing $50 million into the program over the next 3 years. Hey, it’s a good start.

How else do you think we can work to get more girls involved in tech and coding? This is the real deal, more to come…

8 thoughts on “Why It’s Important to Get Girls Involved in Tech

  1. Craig,
    Thank you for the support! We cannot neglect the fact that women are the child bearers, and working from home is a very reasonable insertion into the idea of maintaining a household and working in the tech industry.
    In the quest for equality, we still must realize the natural aspect of our gender to become mothers, and the obvious cost associated with childcare and commuting to an office.
    Our culture is changing. I believe the next 20 or so years will be the era of the woman in our rising to gender equality on many fronts. The freedom to work from home is one rapidly growing evolution- women and girls will greatly benefit through early skills training, even as the effort to equalize the gender gap continues, and will rise up in economic status as well- perhaps closing the gap more rapidly. ? Thoughts?


  2. “How else do you think we can work to get more girls involved in tech and coding?” I think you’re going to get a lot of feedback and responses from men. Heck I’m married to a woman and still don’t know much about her barriers and ceilings. What I’m saying is maybe us guys should just focus on asking women how we can help and then listening.


  3. Craig: Our now 10-year old is *very* interested in learning to code, but there just aren’t that many options for girls in San Francisco itself. There are pricey day camps in the Summer and programs at the expensive private schools, but very little else. Elena has tried to teach herself online through Khan Academy and Code Academy, but has no one to turn to when she gets stuck. We hear there are some programs at some public middle schools, but there is no easy way to even identify which public middle school might have the strongest offerings. Elena is in her last year of Elementary school and has asked if we can find a Middle School where there are other girls who are interested in computers and robotics and classes for them to learn. Any ideas?


  4. Ann Friedman writes about sexism in tech here:

    View at Medium.com

    I feel Friedman has ignored (or glossed over) the behavior, motivations, risk and loss that fuels the innovation and hype in tech. Furthermore, a degree in computer science or design has very little bearing on the knowledge, skills, commitment and ambition required to succeed or get any kind of attention as a young professional, entrepreneur, technologist or rockstar.

    I would like to see more successful women in tech and start ups but I don’t blame the women for their lack of interest in an experience that is, practically speaking, unrewarding, unforgiving, exhausting and brutal.

    Charts, graphs and statistics are too often employed as deceptive and manipulative instruments in games of truth and power. They rarely explain disparities and dynamics in an intelligent or satisfactory manner. On the other hand, deeper and truer insight rarely suggests a solution that we can be unreservedly and unabashedly happy about.

    The sacrifice, failures and humiliations of relentlessly pursuing opportunity is not preferable to the herd. There is no grazing in the fast lane. But the casualties and fatalities are gruesome and the horror is beyond your imagination.

    That pleasantville of a balanced lifestyle of family, community, health, self development, play and work is a pipe dream. The cake is a lie. Except for those whose effectively exploit, deceive, and manipulate others to leverage the cost of their own “worldly” happiness.


  5. I’m a single mom of 3 below the poverty line. I tried computer classes at my university but couldn’t get the help and the academics counsel directed me to another degree that me washed out. I ended up with a liberal studies degree instead.
    If a woman is already intimidated by the guys who have an educational advantage and then there’s road blocks of being too slow because you’re already behind the curve ball instead of getting the extra help to get brought to the guys level they just leave you in their dust and you get left behind. Then you get redirected to some useless degree that does nothing for you except keep you stuck in poverty now with excessive school loans to seal your fate of poverty. The trap.

    So, now, years later still struggling financially my high school daughter is
    interested in computer programming but the poverty cycle I’m afraid is going to leave her behind too.
    Are there any women who want to step in and stop this cycle for her career goals, financial future and her younger siblings?

    Personally, I don’t think this is just a gender gap but more of a resource gap.
    If everyone has their own equipment and connections to push their success along they will accomplish their goals.


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