Sunday, August 31, 2014

Giving girls the code to success

Last year, my high school librarians and I conducted a week long hack-athon/code-athon called Warrior Code. Though the event did not garner as many students as we hoped, it did make a lasting impact.

One student, our only girl participant, stopped us afterward and asked if we would sponsor her in starting a Westwood chapter of Girls Who Code. At the time, we had little vision of what it would turn out to be, but we gladly said yes.

Over four months later, we are about to host our first meeting with the Westwood Girls Who Code. Our one girl entrepreneur found three other girls as passionate as she was and, together, they found four volunteer instructors, and one more sponsor. They also took initiative and contacted the main chapter of Girls Who Code.

Last Friday, the girls took to the Fish Bowl, our high school's freshmen club orientation. After the short orientation, they already had over 50 freshmen girls signed up to become part of this inaugural program of girls.

Next week, we will begin with no other goals besides learning, growing, and sharing. Stay tuned for our progress with the club...and the progress in creating a new generation of girl leaders, entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators, and helpers.

You can find the girls and their journey on their twitter account @westwoodgwcr

Other organizations to follow include:

  • Girl Develop It
  • Texas Girls Collaborative Project
  • So She Did
  • UT - WEP
  • Girl Start
  • Made With Code
  • Girls Pushing Girls to Code
  • Girls Who Code - National
  • Black Girls Code
  • Coder Dojo
And, follow up your reading with an article from the New York Times on one woman's personal journey to get more girls into coding. 

Why do you think it is or isn't essential to get girls into coding?

For me, it's not a matter of coding, but a matter of innovating and leadership. Coding is not just an area that is underrepresented by females, but it's a way of thought - one of trial and error - that is essential to all students, not just girls. However, (here's where girls are even more needed) the pool of CS and other coding-related careers is missing a whole line of thought. Watching my girl and boy students interact, I know that their decision-making and what they bring to a group is very unique. But, when I think about a whole field devoid of any substantial "girl thought," I know it is essential. As with any career, a balance of thought and group think is necessary.

What do you think?

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