A major factor that deters girls from pursuing computer science is the perception that coders are mostly white and male, according to a recent Google-commissioned Gallup survey. That’s why non-profit organization Girls Who Code has partnered with mobile game-maker Pixelberry Studios to tell the story of a young girl coder in its flagship game, “High School Story.”
The coder, named Gabriela, will be the first tech-related character featured in “High School Story,” a game that over 30% of high school girls in the U.S. have played, according to Pixelberry. The storyline is inspired by a group of Girls Who Code alumnae. In the game, Gabriela leads players on a mission that culminates at a hackathon, where the objective is to build a mobile app. Previous storylines on High School Story have addressed cyber-bullying and body image.
“We want to broaden the perception about who is a coder,” Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani told TechCrunch. “We want to show girls how they can use coding to achieve their passions. It’s about how do we shift and change culture to built by, made for girls.”
“High School Story” is a free app, available on iOS and Android, that offers in-app purchases. Players are able to, for example, buy a Girls Who Code t-shirt for their characters, with proceeds going to the non-profit organization. Girls Who Code currently operates in 41 states across the U.S. and has taught over 10,000 girls how to code since launching in 2012.