By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer
Google, the search engine giant known for pushing technology into unexplored areas, is blazing a new trail. This time, they’re looking to bring some much needed female talent into the world of computer science, where only 1% of high school girls have expressed interest. So, they’re devoting $50 million over 3 years to support programs that get ladies into coding and programming, as part of the Made With Code initiative!
See, 74% of middle school girls express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), according to a Girl Scout Research Institute study. However, only 0.4% of all female college freshmen say they plan on majoring in computer science, a field that will have the highest-paying jobs over the next decade!
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki expressed worry that there are “far too few young girls” going after high-tech careers. “This is an issue that hits home for me,” said Wojcicki. “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, what gives? Are boys and girls just… programmed differently? Nope! As technology becomes more common, there’s an increase in the number of gamer girls (once incredibly rare), greater focus on developing engineering toys for young ladies, and extra “coolness” associated with geek culture. All that’s needed is a little push from parents and companies to even the playing field.
Made With Code is partnering up with powerful females and other tech powerhouses, like Chelsea Clinton (daughter of former President Bill Clinton), comedian Mindy Kaling, MIT Media Lab, and the National Center for Women & Information Technology. “I think coding is cool, but most girls don’t,” expressed Kaling. “Made With Code lets girls see coding not just as something they can do, but something they’d love to do.”
Images courtesy of Google and MadeWithCode.com.