Code is power: So says Kristen Titus, executive director of Girls Who Code, a new organization working to combat the lack of women in the technology field.
If you're already working in the technology sector, you may have noticed a shortage of female applicants for job openings. Girls Who Code wants to remedy that by arming young women with coding skills.
This July, the group will launch an intensive eight-week program to get teen girls excited about computer science and engineering. The program will give 20 New York City teens access to classes on coding, design, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship. A mentorship aspect of the program will pair each girl with a successful female entrepreneur or engineer to act as a role model.
The initiative is currently backed by tech giants eBay, Twitter, Google, and General Electric.
The big tech companies “recognize that this is crucial,” Titus says. “When you’re looking at companies whose user base is often 50% to 75% women, it’s without a doubt important for them to have their users--women--innovating, sitting at the table, developing, and iterating on products.”
Titus and the group's founder, Reshma Saujani, plan to develop their model in NYC this summer, and then expand the program with Girls Who Code initiatives in cities all across the country in 2013.
“We want to help these young women think big,” Titus says. “ We want to open their eyes to the world of possibilities that technology can provide.”