Girls Who Code Works to Close Tech Gender Gap

[ 0 ] October 10, 2015 |

Lack of exposure and flaws in education are the main reasons for the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors, says Kristen Titus, executive director of Girls Who Code. “We’re seeing at the high school level less than 1 percent of girls interested in moving into a field that represents the most innovative, the highest paying, the fastest growing sector, and it’s a real challenge,” Titus says.

Watch Kristen Titus describe how Girls Who Code builds classrooms within tech companies to inspire high school girls to become pioneers and leaders in a career sector dominated by men:

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Girls Who Code participants got to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange, celebrating the culmination of their program.

Girls Who Code participants rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange in August.

Girls Who Code, a nonprofit launched in 2012, works with public and private partners to equip young women with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in computer science.

Titus argues that the U.S. education system does not offer computer science in “real, scalable form.” “In fact only 10 states in the United States accept computer science credit toward graduation in high school,” she says.

She also says there is a disconnect between girls’ use of technology and their exposure to it as a career option. “Young women think of themselves as consumers, not creators, and we have to change that dynamic,” Titus says.

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Girls Who Code aims to close the gender gap through its partnerships with Twitter, eBay, Intel, AT&T, GE, Goldman Sachs, Cornell Tech, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and IAC. The summer immersion program pairs intensive instruction with career-focused guidance and exposure led by the industry’s top female entrepreneurs and engineers.

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“We have 15, 16, 17-year-old girls going to Twitter for eight hours a day, eight weeks learning everything from robotics to web design to mobile development,” Titus says. “They’re getting mentorship from the top engineers in the field.”

The success of the young program is quantifiable, Titus says. “One hundred percent of the girls in our program are now planning to major in computer science,” she says. “They have jobs, they have internships, and they’ve created the most amazing innovations that we could never have envisioned.”

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About Kristen Titus: Kristen Titus is the Executive Director of Girls Who Code, leading the organization's work to close the gender gap in technology and engineering. She is a former consultant to nonprofit organizations, foundations, and corporate partners [...]
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