Just about 21 percent of computer programmers in the U.S. last year were women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
One competition wants to change that.
In her new documentary "Codegirl," producer Lesley Chilcott profiles Technovation, a tournament in which high school girls from around the world have three months to design an app that solves a problem in their community. The film debuts in theaters Nov. 1 and will be available to stream for free on YouTube from Nov. 1 to Nov. 5. It will hit on-demand platforms such as Amazon Instant Video, Google Play and iTunes on Nov. 6.
“Teens get a lot of their content on YouTube so I thought, Why not show the film on YouTube first, for free?" Chilcott said in a statement. "I needed two partners to do this -- one who could help me spread the film’s message of inspiring girls to learn code, and another who was brave enough to try a distribution plan that had never been done before."
After choosing FilmBuff as her distributor, Chilcott partnered with Google, which owns YouTube, the most popular free video-viewing platform in the U.S.
The issue of women in tech is one close to Google's heart. Last year, the Internet behemoth launched a program called Made with Code, aiming to encourage more girls to pursue computer science. Through the initiative, the company has vowed to push more girls to see "Codegirl" for inspiration.
The app market will be worth about $77 billion by 2017. But it's still dominated by men, who comprise nearly 80 percent of developers. It's a reflection of the tech industry as a whole. Women are rare even at the top echelons of venture capital.
Founded in 2009, Technovation grants two $10,000 prizes each year -- one to girls 14 and younger, another for girls ages 14 - 19. Previous winners include Arrive, an app that lets users check in to attendance when they arrive at school; I.O.U., an Android app that tracks things users have borrowed or loaned; and MASH, an app version of the classic fortune-telling game.
Here's the trailer for "Codegirl":