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    June 24, 2014

    Google invests $50 million to encourage girls to code

    Boys like cars and tools and tech and girls like fashion and make up and shoes, right? Wrong. The tech industry has long been perceived to be for “˜boys only‘, but a new initiative by Google is helping to change this archaic outlook.

    When you think of computer coders, you primarily think of clever men in hoodies (thanks, Mark Zuckerberg) and this is partly due to the fact that it is true – computer engineers and coders are mainly male.

    However, Google‘s new project called “˜Made with Code‘ aims at getting young girls interested in coding.

    There is an inherent stigma behind coding; that is boring and only interesting for computer geeks. This is what “˜Made with Code‘ is trying to abolish, by showing girls that coding is fun and that it can be used to make the things they love – from clever apps to movies.

    The Made with Code launch event was held in New York City on Thursday night and was attended by hundreds of high school girls, ready to embrace the world of computer science. 

    Hosted by Mindy Kalling – actress and producer of “˜The Mindy Project‘ and somewhat of a feminist icon – the event celebrated the launch of Google‘s latest venture, which will see the mega tech company invest $50 million over the next three years to non-profit organizations that encourage girls to get coding.

    Chelsea Clinton is also one of Google‘s partners on the project (and attended the event) along with the MIT Media Lab, Girl Scouts, Girls Who Code and the National Center for Women & Information Technology.

    Besides assisting aspiring female coders in various fields, the Made with Code website will offer resources and projects to young women and help them to learn the coding business.

    It‘s a great initiative by Google and co, tackling gender inequality in the computer sciences field – especially considering the fact that the amount of young women graduating with Computer Sciences degrees have decreased significantly over the past few years.

    In the 1980‘s, roughly 40% of students graduating with a computer sciences degree were female. Fast forward to today, and that number has more than halved with only 14% of computer science graduates being female.

    Many believe that one of the biggest problems attributing to the lesser amount of female graduates, is the fact that they don‘t really have any female role models to look up to.

    Sure, there is Melissa Meyer of Yahoo and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, but there isn‘t really a female counterpart to Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates.

    Hopefully, with the Made with Code initiative, this will change, and in 10 years or so, we will see more female tech executives in the field.

    The project is also somewhat of a personal thing for Google. Earlier this year, Google released their employee stats, that painted a fairly grim picture for females in the field.

    According to these statistics, only 30% of Google employees are female, with a mere 17% of them being involved in the tech teams.

    So essentially, Google is trying to fight gender inequality internally and externally.

    However, Google isn‘t the only tech company that has a lack of ladies. Recently, Yahoo also released their company statistics, and revealed a similar situation to that of Google.

    Although Yahoo is spearheaded by the formidable Melissa Meyer, only 15% of it‘s employees in the tech side of things are female.

    The Made with Code initiative is a wonderful idea, and while it may not be making too many waves just yet, it has the potential to shape the computer sciences field immensely.

    As a woman, I strongly believe in giving young girls the opportunity to explore things that are too often deemed as “˜boys stuff‘ – after all, the saying “˜never send a woman to so a man‘s job‘ is so last season.

    Source: CNN

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