Google Looks to Bridge the IT Gender Gap through Code

Bracelet: made with code

Google recently launched a programme to teach young girls how to code and help bridge the gender gap in the IT industry.

Author Anna Rees, 10.06.14

Google recently launched a programme to teach young girls how to code and help bridge the gender gap in the IT industry.

The initiative, dubbed Made with Code, looks to demonstrate that some of the items that young girls love, like apps and movies, are, as the label says, made with code, thereby providing a hook to snag their interest in coding.

Via the dedicated website, girls can learn to code a bracelet (which is then brought to life courtesy of 3D printing); an avatar; a GIF animation; as well as programme their own music. The site is built around a community platform whereby girls can share trials, tribulations and results online; find local coding groups in their area; and also hear from mentors, women who share their coding success stories.

The project looks to address the oft-discussed gender gap in the IT world by offering pathways for young girls to learn to code as well as highlighting women in the field that they can look up to.

Despite all the talk about closing the gender gap in IT, the numbers are still pretty dismal. According to a Bloomberg article from August 2014, 17 percent of Google’s workforce is female while Facebook’s figures sit at 15 percent and over at Twitter, women make up 10 percent of the employee pool.

To break this down even further, Ri Liu of Pitch Interactive and Tracy Chou of Pinterest recently compiled stats about the number of female software engineers at some of the big tech companies in comparison with their male counterparts. Of the companies on their list, Mozilla had the most number female engineers (43 compared to 437 male engineers) but it also had the largest-sized team in general. Other companies with a total engineer pool of around 100 tended to have less than 10 female engineers. You can check out the entire comparison via this spreadsheet or head to the site We Can Do Better for a visual representation of the data.

With a tech giant at it’s helm and some high profile ambassadors like Chelsea Clinton and Mindy Kaling backing it, Made with Code looks like a promising first step towards introducing young girls to the world of code. Check out the project in detail via the video below and at their website.

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