Girls Can't Code Because, You Know, Boobs (And Other Myths)

Brilliant satirical video series skewers stereotypes about women in tech.

Why can't girls code? Oh, you know: Boobs. Menstruation. Being beautiful. They all get in the way.

“I’ve tried to get into coding but my cleavage is just so distracting,” quipped one young woman in this provocative YouTube video.

“When I'm not menstruating, I'm ovulating, so there’s no time to code at all,” lamented another.

If this all sounds entirely ludicrous, it’s supposed to.

Girls Who Code, a nonprofit dedicated to bridging the gender gap in tech, created this satirical clip to feature in a three-part series that explores the ridiculous gender stereotypes that exist in the world of computer science.

"We wanted to try something different and use humor and satire to question the stereotypes that tell our girls that coding is not for them," said Reshma Saujani, the organization's founder and CEO, in a statement. "Our hope is these videos will spark a much-needed conversation about the messages we send our young women and what we can do to create a more inclusive, well-rounded image of a programmer.”

The gender gap in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, is a well-documented problem. Women held only 25 percent of all computing jobs in the U.S. as of 2015. According to Girls Who Code, 74 percent of girls in middle school express interest in STEM, yet at the college level, only 1 in 5 computer science majors are women. 

This is all despite the fact that girls are excelling in these subjects in school. 

New results from the National Assessment for Educational Progress show that eighth-grade girls in the U.S. are actually outperforming boys in technology and engineering literacy. A study the University of Missouri and the University of Glasgow released last year found that girls were performing better academically than boys worldwide, including in science and math. 

Margot Richaud, a Girls Who Code alumna, said that sexist attitudes have a profound effect on young women who want to pursue STEM careers. 

“As a high school senior, I’ve had classmates and teachers tell me that coding is not for me, or that I’d be better off focusing on design and making something look ‘pretty.’ These comments, plus the stereotypes that we see everyday of a coder as a nerdy guy in a hoodie, keep a lot of my friends from considering computer science as a career path. We need to change that and stop telling girls that coding is not for us. There is never be an excuse for a girl to not code,” she said.