JOIN ME in encouraging girls, especially girls of color from lower-income communities, to consider careers in Technology and STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math)! Whether they eventually choose to pursue careers in STEM or not, the time is NOW to expose our young women to the possibilities in these fast-growing fields. One great program that can help us do that is the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program! Applications are open now through March 17 for participation this summer! Please spread the word among the young women in your world, and encourage them to apply!
Tech jobs are among the fastest growing jobs in the country, yet these jobs are still filled predominantly by mainstream, privileged populations. Yet, there is growing opportunity as more employers like Apple, IBM, AT&T, among many others, seek professionals with skills in Tech, Engineering and other STEM fields across California, nationally and globally. Increasingly, employers are seeking professionals who can create the products and services of an increasingly evolving global marketplace dependent on advanced technologies. This is the future, and we must catch this growing wave of growth and opportunity and pull our young women onto it! Right now, girls, especially girls of color, are being left behind. While interest in computer science ebbs over time, the biggest drop-off happens between the ages of 13-17. The gender gap in computing has actually been getting worse since the 1980s. In 1984, 37% of all computer science graduates were women; today, that number is just 18%. The numbers among girls of color are even lower. Many factors contribute to this phenomenon, including the age-old, pervasive double-standard between girls and boys that exists in our society. It is up to each one of us to do our part to pull girls in as early as possible to learn what these fields offer. Girls Who Code was founded just a few years ago to do just that, and AT&T is proud to be an early supporter across the country.
Girls Who Code has gone from 20 girls in New to 10,000 girls in 42 states. That’s the same number of girls who graduate each year with a degree in computer science. That’s progress! But there is much more work to be done and I am passionate about doing my part to ensure that ALL young women, regardless of economic circumstance, have equal access to programs like this. In 2014, when I joined the AT&T External Affairs team in California, I championed bringing our AT&T-sponsored program to the Boyle Heights Technology Center. We were able to offer this amazing experience to girls from throughout Southern CA, including Boyle Heights and other lower-income neighborhoods. This year, the summer program will take place at the AT&T El Segundo headquarters adjacent to LAX. I am certainly hopeful that girls from all neighborhoods will apply, be accepted and take part in the program! We can only make that happen with your help in reaching out to young women in your network and encouraging them to apply! All information about the program and the application may be found on https://girlswhocode.com
As Reshma Saujani, the Founder & CEO of Girls Who Code states, ‘when girls learn to code, they become change agents in their communities. Whether it’s a game to illustrate the experience of an undocumented immigrant or a website to provide free college prep, our girls create technology that makes the world a better place.’ I too am a firm believer in our girls’ unlimited potential; and, today, more than ever it is clear that we must do everything within our reach to ensure that we close every gender gap that exists in our society. More than ever, we must do what we can to empower, expose and support our young women in pushing doors of opportunity wide open for them to step in and lead!