It’s a man’s world – well, at least in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) where the population of male professionals dominate these professions. But, not everyone is happy to keep it that way and there are some bold companies making moves to try to close this gender and skills gap.
Google is one of those bold companies. By partnering with influentials such as Chelsea Clinton, Mindy Kaling, MIT Media Lab, Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Inc., Girls Who Code, the National Center for Women and Information Technology, and TechCrunch, Google has invested $50 million to help girls at a young age learn how to code and to learn more about the coding and technology industry. By showing girls that almost everything they touch or see is made with code, the program is appropriately called, Made with Code.
This program aims to give girls the resources and projects to learn, practice, and use code to create the very things they love such as bracelets, animated GIFs, and other fashion, music, and film projects.
Inspired from an at-home campaign, YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki, wanted her daughter to not only love technology, but to understand it. By connecting her daughter to resources and other girls pursuing computer science, Susan was able to inspire her daughter to learn the art of code, leading her to start using code to create projects at home.
Less than one percent of high school girls express interest in computer science, and only 30 percent of the technology workforce are women. An even fewer percentage of women are graduating with a computer science degree. Google, along with its Made with Code partners, wants to inspire and encourage girls at an early age to help balance the technology industry.
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A spokesperson for Made with Code, Kate Parker, has done extensive research on the imbalance in this industry. “In our research, we discovered that girls are more likely to study computer science if they’re exposed to it at an early age, have a positive perception of the types of careers it can lead to, and receive positive encouragement from parents and teachers,” says Parker.
Google is even going the extra mile in working with producers and writers at the Science and Entertainment Exchange. Technologically obsessed characters in Hollywood movies and films have a ratio of 14 to 1, in favor of men. Google hopes having more female characters in technology roles in films and television will inspire girls to see where a career in technology can take them.
The Made with Code program also inspired many other women who have no background in technical training to try out coding. Google helped those women get involved by offering free three month training sessions at Code School. And while all those free spots have been filled, if you are feeling inspired to learn code yourself, Code School still offers free accounts.
Also, if you’d like to get involved with Made with Code, check out their Web site and see how you can join Google in closing the gender and skills gap and transform the STEM industry.