Today, Google is joining with supporters, including Chelsea Clinton, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of the USA, Mindy Kaling, MIT Media Lab, National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), Seventeen and TechCrunch, to kick off Made with Code. The initiative will aim to inspire millions of girls to learn to code, and to help them see coding as a means to pursue their dream careers.
“Coding is a new literacy and it gives people the potential to create, innovate and quite literally change the world,” said Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, in a release. “We’ve got to show all girls that computer science is an important part of their future, and that it’s a foundation to pursue their passions, no matter what field they want to enter. Made with Code is a great step toward doing that.”
Made with Code includes:
Blockly-based coding projects like designing a bracelet 3D printed by Shapeways, learning to create animated GIFs or building beats for a music track.
Video profiles of girls and women who explain how they’re using code to do what they love—in fashion, music, dance, animation, cancer research and more.
A resource directory for parents and girls to find more information about new local events, camps, classes and clubs.
Collaborations with organizations like Girl Scouts of the USA and Girls, Inc. to introduce Made with Code to girls in their networks, encouraging them to complete their first coding experience.
A Computing Problem
All of this attempts to solve a fast-growing problem in computer science (CS). "I think coding is cool, but most girls don't. Less than 1% of high school girls see computer science as part of their future,” said Mindy Kaling, actress, comedian and writer. “Made with Code lets girls see coding not just as something they can do, but something they'd love to do."
“When I received my first computer in the mid-80s, women comprised 37% of CS graduates. Today, despite ever-increasing job opportunities, it’s less than 16%. We need to help girls see themselves as the next generation of coders, and, with efforts like Made with Code and the No Ceilings Initiative, make sure there’s full participation in technology’s future,” said Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation.
Google is also committing $50 million over three years to support programs working to increase gender diversity in CS. The company is piloting a project with DonorsChoose.org to reward teachers who support girls who take CS courses on Codecademy or Khan Academy.
Working with the Science and Entertainment Exchange, Google intends to encourage more female engineer characters depicted family TV and film. The company calls this just a first step, which builds on the $40 million it has invested since 2010 in organizations like Code.org, Black Girls Code, Technovation and Girls Who Code.
These efforts are based on Google’s new nationwide research, which shows that CS exposure is crucial in pre-college years, parental encouragement is key and that girls who have positive perceptions of CS as a career, and understand its potential for social impact, are much more likely to pursue it.
"The numbers hurt: Women constitute more than half of the professional workforce, but only a quarter of workforce in tech,” said Lucy Sanders, CEO, and co-founder of NCWIT. "It's a problem, bordering on a crisis. We won't solve it easily, or quickly. But Made with Code is a great step in the direction of reversing this trend, and getting more and more girls to use coding to accomplish amazing things by doing what they love."
Made with Code kicked off June 19 with an event in New York City where over 100 teenage girls from local organizations and public schools worked on coding projects, and witnessed first-hand how women use code in their dream jobs, like Danielle Feinberg (Pixar), Miral Kotb (iLuminate Dance Technology) and Erica Kochi (UNICEF’s Innovation Unit). The event also featured girl coders like Brittany Wenger who’s using code to fight cancer.
Supporters of and organizations involved with Made with Code include: Adafruit, American School Counselor Association, Black Girls Code, Code.org, Codecademy, Computer Science Teachers Association, DonorsChoose.org, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Who Code, iLuminate, KIPP Schools, littleBits, National Association for College Admission Counseling, National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, National Center for Women & Information Technology, Mindy Kaling, MIT Media Lab, Mozilla Webmaker, PSTA, Seventeen, Shapeways, Sew Electric, Seventeen, Shapeways, Teach for America, TechCrunch, Technovation Challenge, and U.S. Fund for UNICEF.