Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code (GWC) was founded in 2012 with a single mission: to close the gender gap in technology. They’re doing so by building the largest pipeline of future female engineers in the United States. Tech jobs are among the fastest growing in the country, yet girls are being left behind. In 1984 37% of all computer science graduates were women, now that number is just 18%. For many young girls, the biggest drop off in interest in computer science typically happens between the ages of 13-17. GWC aims to keep girls interested in pursuing tech during this critical time by involving them in their after school club programs and summer immersion programs.
The curriculum of the after school programs for 6th-12th grade girls is designed for students with a wide range of computer science experience. They teach a broad set of hard skills and soft skills such as teamwork, confidence, time management and communication. These clubs also incorporate Computer Science Impact Projects, which address real-world problems relevant to the club’s community. The free 7-week summer programs for 10th-11th grade girls not only teaches coding but also gives students exposure to tech careers. Participants learn computer science through real-world projects in art and storytelling, robotics, video games, websites, apps and more. These summer programs are hosted by tech companies which not only gives girls an inside view of the industry but also enables them to connect with female engineers in the field
Girls Who Code is already having real, tangible impact on closing the gender gap in the tech world. 65% of Club participants and 90% of Summer Immersion participants said they were planning to major or minor in CS or a closely-related field. Additionally 8,000 students are involved in a GWC program and over 400 alumni are currently majoring in computer science at the top science universities across the nation, including Columbia. GWC prides itself in making both its clubs as well as summer immersion programs free for the students that are accepted. Support for this organization helps create a computer science sisterhood which teaches girls that “code isn’t exclusively a boy language, it’s a computer language.”