“Code is the next universal language, in the seventies it was punk music that drove a whole generation, in the eighties it was probably money — but for my generation of people software is the interface to our imagination and our world,” said Linda Liukas, a Finnish programmer who left a cushy job at Codecademy to develop a children’s book aimed at teaching little girls (4 – 7 years) about coding and tech.
Called Hello, Ruby — the illustrated book, named after the programming language was authored and mocked up by Liukas herself, going on to raise hundreds of thousands in funding. Since then she’s released more titles in the “Ruby” series to promote further the need for getting girls into tech as soon as possible.
Liukas isn’t the only STEM enthusiast to push these topics on future generations; there are numerous organisations in existence and forming that are intent on creating a space for women in tech. Here are a few worth a mention:
Founder Reshma Saujani introduced Girls Who Code to the world in 2012 as a way to teach young women how to master computer science. “The technology field is where new jobs are being created, and if we want to increase opportunities for women and girls, it has to be in that field,” she told Time. Her US-based non-profit includes a 7-week Summer Immersion Program, 2-week specialised Campus Program, after school Clubs and a 13-book series. So far, “88% of alumni have declared a CS major/minor or are more interested in CS because of Girls Who Code,” states the website.
The brainchild of Hello, Ruby’s Linda Liukas, and Karri Saarinen the Finnish workshop gets its name from the web application framework Rails and began in 2010 as a workshop program but has grown into a global non-profit volunteer collective teaching coding to girls in countries like India, Romania, and Uganda.
This social enterprise, founded in 2014 is focused on eradicating the barriers put before women pursuing a STEM education. “We want to change society and the face of the UK economy by teaching 20,000 women how to code for free by the end of 2020,” states the website.
A global non-profit geared towards helping women quickly advance in the STEM field. Girls In Tech was created by Adriana Gascoigne, a former tech executive, and current activist and entrepreneur. She started GIT after noticing she was the only woman in a company of 50 people. One of their notable events is “Hacking For Humanity,” a year-long endeavour that debuted last year with the intention of creating something that could help humanity. The winners were a hackathon team in Melbourne, Australia who created an online tool to make it easier for families to find missing loved ones. They were awarded a prize of $2000.00. Since its formation more than a decade ago, GIT has accrued 50,000 members in 60 chapters worldwide.
The Australian company runs workshops throughout the country to bring together girls interested in the tech sphere. Speaker events like “Programmed for Success” include stories of women who have defied the odds in the STEM world.
These are only a few of the many companies created to create a space for women in tech. Despite these groups being primarily for the female sect, they also invite the opposite sex into many of their projects. Indeed, their purpose is to promote inclusivity in the industry and avoid gender favouritism. Let’s “code-exist” happily.
Via: Forbes, Time, STEM, TEDX