Creating Real Role Models for Girls Interested in Technology

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This week, Girls Who Code, the national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology, released "My Code," a YouTube series about learning how to code from the perspective of four female coders. The weekly series will air every Thursday on YouTube.

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"My Code" shares the experiences of four Girls Who Code alumnae: Audrey, Brittney, Margot, and Shannon. These real world role models and coders, all in high school, represent a diverse range of perspectives and interests in technology - from gaming to animation to social impact to web design. Every week, the cast of "My Code" will answer questions about what it's like to learn to code and tackle a different perspective on their journey: from why they learned to code to the challenges they've faced and their plans for the future. "My Code" aims to provide relatable and practical advice for teen girls who are interested in coding on a platform that they use each and every day.

Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, said: "Teen girls increasingly take their cues about what they want to be from places like YouTube. In fact, 81.9% of US Internet users between the age of 14-17 are on YouTube. That's a lot of teenage girls. We wanted to fill a gap we saw on YouTube and present relatable and inspiring role models for the next generation of women in technology."

Well before college, young girls have begun to opt out of computer science. While girls' interest ebbs over time, the largest drop-off happens during the teenage years. Studies point to media portrayals of coders as "nerdy boys" and lack of roles models as key reasons that girls opt out. By college, only 18% of Computer Science majors are women. This gap then continues into the workforce and has major implications for our economy. By 2020, there will be 1.4 million open jobs in computing. Women are on track to fill just 3% of those roles.

Girls Who Code hopes that any girl who watches "My Code" will realize that EVERYTHING she uses day in and day out is a result of code and will be inspired to at least try to learn to code. The goal is to help girls see themselves as coders and, by doing so, start to close the gender gap in technology.