Gender disparity in tech starts early
Originally posted 20 November 2016. Updated 22 June 2017.
When we started collecting data back in February 2016, we saw that roughly 75% of enrolments are boys and 25% are girls. We spent a year working hard to get the numbers even. Now, in June 2017 we have 60% boys and 40% girls. We still have a way to go. Surprisingly (or not), the boy-to-girl ratio for Coding Kids is very similar to other coding clubs around Australia. So, let’s work together to get girls coding.
Original post below.
It has only been seven months since we launched Coding Kids. It’s still too early to make any conclusions, but our data shows that 75% of enrolments are boys and 25% are girls. Surprisingly (or not), the boy-to-girl ratio for Coding Kids is very similar to other coding clubs and children’s cricket clubs around Australia.
We only do a small amount of marketing. Our marketing messages are not intended to target boys. We also re-post other content we find on Facebook, which may be skewed to attract a male audience. At the same time we don’t believe that we need to sell stories about ballerinas and princesses covered from head to toe in pink to signal that creating and designing digital projects are also for girls.
Technology is a means for us to be creative, let our imagination run wild, design digital products, solve world problems, solve local problems, impact our communities, tell stories, create artwork, communicate ideas, collaborate globally, build inventions and become masters of our environment, and the cliche, “make the world a better place.” Technology is for everyone; it is for girls and boys. Whether you want to tell stories about fairies and elves, shoot monsters, slay dragons, design a game about ballerinas, create a documentary about the environment, or build a game that teaches maths in a fun way. Technology is enabling, engaging, playful and creative. It is a tool that can be used to develop children who are curious, imaginative, empowered and informed. So, where are all the girls at coding clubs? Are they not interested? Are there misconceptions?
There are already so many organisations and movements that are trying to get more girls into coding. Do we need to start another one?
Supporting Tech Girls
Here are a few organisations we found that promote coding and IT to girls from a quick internet search:
UK based after-school club that has been specifically designed to encourage girls to stay engaged in IT.
TechGirlz is a non-profit, based in the USA, dedicated to reducing the gender gap in technology occupations.
TechGirls Canada provides national leadership and community to the hundreds of non-profit and industry groups working to encourage more girls to consider tech as a career.
Tech-Girls are Superheroes promote positive female information technology role models to encourage and raise awareness of technology career options for school girls.
Tech Girls Movement is a non-profit organisation promoting positive female information technology role models to encourage and raise awareness of technology careers options for girls. Based out of Brisbane, Australia.
Tech-Girls, a USA based non-profit, is all about nurturing girls interest in STEM.
Stemettes was set up to help combat the lack of women in STEM in a new way.
Go Girl, Go for IT is a free IT career showcase run by the Victorian ICT for Women network for all Secondary School Girls to hear about the incredible range of vocational avenues that are available in IT.
The Girls in ICT initiative of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is a global effort to raise awareness on empowering and encouraging girls and young women to consider studies and careers in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
The vision of the NGCP is to bring together organizations throughout the United States that are committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
USA based national non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology.
Melbourne based, Code Like a Girl is an initiative dedicated to providing girls with the tools, knowledge and support to enter and flourish in the world of coding.
Girls Learning Code programs, Toronto based, are designed to help girls see technology in a whole new light – as a medium for self-expression, and as a means for changing the world
Girls in Tech (GIT) is a global non-profit focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of girls and women who are passionate about technology.
After all this, where are all the girls?
Let’s work together to get girls coding. Talk to your daughters, discuss what kinds of things they would like to invent and build. Ask your daughters to talk to their friends about building things and solving problems. They don’t have to be world problems, even local problems are worth solving e.g. a machine that dispenses dog food once a day. These projects start with a dream and next thing you know you are learning to code and program a robot. Girls, let’s code like a girl.