This week, Google launched a new initiative called Made With Code, aimed at getting young women excited about learning to code and close the gender gap in the tech industry. The idea behind it is to show young girls that the things they love, from apps on their smartphones to their favorite movies are made with code, and they can apply the skills they learn to their own individual passions.
Google is investing $50 million into the program over the next three years, and Made With Code has a host of partners to help foster the community including Chelsea Clinton, Mindy Kaling, MIT Media Lab, Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Inc., Girls Who Code, the National Center for Women and Information Technology, and TechCrunch as a media partner.
The Made With Code website will offer resources and projects for kids to learn how to code, communities to discuss different lessons and projects with each other and mentors, as well as information about regional events. This is all in an effort to get women in the driver seat when it comes to the technology of the future.
Looking at the numbers, women have actually lost ground when it comes to getting Computer Science degrees in the U.S.
Google X EVP Megan Smith explained that there are a number of factors that can turn this around, all of which are well within our grasp. The first is to encourage young girls to try coding, even if the person doing the encouraging isn’t technical. “You don’t have to know how to code to encourage someone else to code.”
Smith also identified that for some girls, there isn’t a clear avenue to try coding, and that there are no heroes for girls to look up to. Even in television shows, men are represented as the computer scientists far more than women.
Made With Code looks to solve these problems, as well as encourage others to take steps to encourage young girls to try coding, and give them people to aspire to be like.
We checked out the launch event and spoke with the people involved, which you can see in the video below.