Girls in Tech

By Kristen Johnson

In 2014, 57% bachelor’s degrees were awarded to women, though only 17% of Computer and Information Sciences bachelor’s degrees went to women. Only 25% of the computing workforce in 2014 were female, and only 17% of Fortune 500 CIO positions were held by women in 2015. (National Center for Women and Information Technology).

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the three biggest occupations for women are Registered Nurses, Elementary and Middle School teachers, and secretaries and administrative assistants. All of these professions are admirable certainly (I’m currently participating in one of them – and I spent 20 years in another). But, there is certainly more money to be made in technology (and don’t get me started on the gender pay gap – that will be saved for another post). How do we get young girls interested in technology?

CodeGirl is a documentary all about getting high school girls interested in working in technology. The Technovation Challenge is the focus of the film and it follows several all-female teams located throughout the world who gather together to write code and develop apps that solve problems in their communities. It’s a truly fascinating and wonderful way to encourage women. They work together to build the app, to present it and talk about it, and ultimately they compete to win seed-funding to actually get the app started in their communities.

Watching these young women work together is amazing. Watching them grow over the months as young programmers and technology entrepeneurs is amazing. Watching them rehearse and give their presentations to a live audience is amazing.

I really enjoyed learning about the entire process from idea to presentation. In particular, it’s important to note the “mentorship” that goes with each team. The groups all worked with teachers and other leaders who served as their mentors. (Mentorship of young people, especially women working so hard to get into male-dominated fields, is incredibly important!)

I love to see young girls working to reach their potential, working together to solve problems in their communities, and reaching for their goals – especially when it empowers them to enter fields that are male-dominated. I felt empowered just watching them, and I don’t have any interest in working in technology. (Maybe if I’d had any encouragement as a teenager, I would feel differently!)

Thank you to the organizers of “Code Girl” and Technovation for the work you do to help empower young girls. This work is so desperately needed.

Women’s rights are human rights.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NRSV): Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

Serve all with love.

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