Both the local and international community should support and encourage young girls who wish to embrace the technology evolution. We need to drive young girls into recognizing and developing a passion for the sciences. Even though there may not be a majority of girls wanting to follow a computer science profession, it is imperative to acknowledge that there are basic technical skills required to perform in leading industries and the demands for them will increase. Professional women are capable enough to take on powerful positions that are emerging in growing technological fields and as a community we must do more to encourage them in accomplishing their goals.
Encouraging girls to get into science and technology has lately been a strong campaign in the United States but the gender imbalance is more of a global challenge. Foreign nations should look to our example of initiative and create similar programs and facilitate better attitudes for improving the status of young girls in their countries. The goal? To build bridges between strong young women worldwide, such as the programs the U.S. has piloted.
The State Department-funded international exchange program called TechGirls is designed to empower young girls from the Middle East and North Africa to pursue higher education and careers in technology through hands-on skills developmental exercises. The TechGirls program builds on the U.S. global commitment to advance the rights of women and girls around the world, as well as offering a cultural immersion experience. For the State Department, the program is a relatively low-cost way to build lasting ties between American and foreign nerds.
Google launches Made with Code to inspire millions of girls to learn to code as a means of achieving goals and dream professions. Google is committing $50 million over three years to support programs working to increase gender diversity in the field of computer science. Made with Code contains a number of elements, including Blockly-based coding projects and video profiles of girls who apply coding to areas such as fashion, music, cancer research and more.
“I think coding is cool, but most girls don’t. Less than 1 percent of high school girls see computer science as part of their future,” said Mindy Kaling, the actress. “Made with Code lets girls see coding not just as something they can do, but something they’d love to do.”
Not only are these the types of programs and initiatives we should be advocating for but also invite strong female leaders like Mindy to advocate on their behalf. If I had a Mindy Kaling in my early childhood stressing the importance and coolness of digital coding, I’d more than likely be in a technological career path. Such programs spearheaded in the international community will no doubt create a safe and secure environment for young girls to come to the decision of quickly embracing technology and science.
I have a beautiful goddaughter and second cousin, whom I love dearly. I want them to grow up with numerous opportunities, where the only challenge they face is deciding which career path they’d like to pursue. I’ll be their Mindy Kaling 🙂