Girls Who Code is a Manhattan-based nonprofit aimed at teaching high school girls software programming, public speaking, product development, and other skills that prepare them to launch careers in the tech sector. It’s one of a number of recent initiatives designed to encourage young women to set their sights on jobs in the often male-dominated world of tech. Programs like Hackbright Academy, Girl Develop It, Black Girls Code, and Girls Teaching Girls Code seek to bridge the gender gap in tech by offering hands-on computer science instruction for students on the verge of making decisions about their future studies.
Despite recent advocacy and networking efforts, the number of women going into tech has been declining, according to a New York Times report. Where women earned 37 percent of computer science degrees in 1984, they now earn 12 percent. Andreessen Horowitz partner Margit Wennmachers told the Times that learning a programming language is now critical not just for engineers, but for tech executives and deal-makers. Another startling statistic: about 74 percent of girls in middle school express an interest in STEM subjects, but only o.3 percent choose to major in computer science when they get to college. Despite the fact that women widely embrace tech products, the Times reports that studies indicate that girls envision computer scientists as “men working alone in a basement.” With companies like Google, Twitter, and Intel coming forward to support Girls Who Code, a shift in attitudes, and career choices, may be imminent.