Miral is a hip hop dancer and choreographer who lights up stages across the country. Danielle is a cinematographer at Pixar, helping to bring beloved characters like Nemo and Merida to life. Erica is a humanitarian fighting malaria around the world.
These are all women with cool, amazing jobs. But, more important, they’re all women who use computer science, and an ability to code, to do those cool, amazing jobs. They couldn’t do what they do without having learned not just to use technology, but to build it themselves. Unfortunately, there are far too few women like them and far too few young girls following their paths. In fact, fewer than one percent of high school girls express interest in majoring in computer science.
This is an issue that hits home for me. My school-age daughter instinctively knows how to play games, watch videos and chat with friends online. She understands technology. And she likes using technology. But, she never expressed any interest in creating it herself.
So, I decided to launch a campaign at home — connecting my daughter to coding resources, increasing my encouragement and introducing her to other girls interested in computer science. It wasn’t always easy, but it’s already showing results. She recently started learning basic computer languages and using code to do projects at home.
Today, we’re attempting to solve this issue on a much larger scale. Along with Chelsea Clinton, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of the USA, Mindy Kaling, MIT Media Lab, National Center for Women & Information Technology, SevenTeen, TechCrunch and more, Google is launching Made with Code, an initiative to inspire girls to code. The program includes:
- Cool introductory Blockly-based coding projects, like designing a bracelet 3D-printed by Shapeways, learning to create animated GIFs and building beats for a music track.
- 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 commitment of $50 million to support programs that can help get more females into computer science, like rewarding teachers who support girls who take CS courses on Codecademy or Khan Academy.
We’ve also posted videos about women who are using code in their dream jobs, like Miral, Danielle, Erica and other inspirational girl coders — like Brittany Wenger, who is using code to fight cancer. And, we’ve developed a few steps parents can take at home to get their daughters excited about computer science. Read more about the initiative here.
Nowadays, coding isn’t just a skill useful for working at a tech company; engineering isn’t just for engineers. Interior design. Medicine. Architecture. Music. No matter what a girl dreams of doing, learning how to code will help her get there. Their future — our future — is made with code. Let’s do what we can to make sure that future is as bright as possible.