Mountain view,USA(AFP): Google has promised to do all it can to recruit more women into Silicon Valley, and now the company is putting its money where its P.R. is. On Thursday, they launched a $50 million initiative to teach young girls how to code.
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Just last month, Google announced that only 17 percent of their tech employees are women. The gender disparity is a dire issue for all tech companies. There will be 1.4 million computing jobs available in 2020, but only 400,000 computer science graduates from U.S. universities to fill them. Part of the problem is that only 12% of computer science degrees go to women and in order for Silicon Valley to survive and thrive, they must be able to recruit more engineering talent from the other 50% of the population.
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Realizing the extent of the problem, Google is launching Made With Code, a website that includes coding projects, stories from female technology role models and resources for parents. The girl-focused initiative kicks off Thursday at a New York event for 150 high-school-aged girls hosted by Mindy Kaling and Chelsea Clinton.
“Coding is a fundamental skill that’s going to be a part of almost everything,” Megan Smith, VP of Google[x], tells TIME. “So for kids to really at a minimum just be able to express themselves in code and make things and feel confident, that would be important—no matter what their career is.”
Google has invested a lot more than just money in the project. The company conducted research to determine why girls are opting out of learning how to code: the number of female computer science majors has dropped dramatically since 1984 when 37% of computer science degrees went to women. How do we get them back into computer science classrooms?
Google found that most girls decide before they even enter college whether they want to learn to code—so the tech world must win them over them at a young age. They also found that there were four major factors that determined whether girls opted into computer science: social encouragement, self perception, academic exposure and career perception.
If girls are inspired to see that Computer Science can make the world more beautiful, more usable, more safe, more kind, more innovative, more healthy, and more funny then hopefully they will begin to contribute their essential voices. As parents, teachers, organizations, and companies we’re making it our mission to creatively engage girls with code.
Today, less than 1% of girls are interested in CS.So the company created the Made With Code website to target these influences.