Girls and Computer Science

So, I name you two the “The Hooper Committee”. This was a sentence I uttered to the two girls in my grade 11 Computer Science class a few weeks ago. I wanted to try to make these two girls feel special and try to lesson the gender gap in my class that usually occurs. The title I gave these two girls, I explained to them, came from Grace Hooper, an American Computer Scientist and developer of the first programming language compiler. Every year I try to approach any girls who sign up for any of my Computer Science courses and tell them that they will always get special attention from me, as I feel it was brave of them to take a course they know will have such a gender unbalance. It is a fine line for me between making the girls feel special, safe, and welcomed into my classes – and being sexist, elitist, or too “pushy”. Having a daughter of my own, seeing the potential opportunity for women in the technology industry, and my appreciation for the bravery of these incredible women drive me to continue to support these girls in my Computer Science classes. That being said, they still have to do the work, learn the material, and of course, solve the problems! This article from Forbes magazine outlines a summer project in New York city where underserved high school girls were given the opportunity to spend the summer ‘coding’ and learning. Other interesting articles and resources for girls interested in Computer Science / technology include:

In addition, a documentary and project called she++ founded by Stanford university focuses on inspiring women to empower Computer Science.

Code.org Launches To Help Make Computer Programming Accessible To Everyone | TechCrunch

When you think about hackathons and coders building something quick and dirty, you might envision a dark dorm room at Harvard filled with pizza boxes and empty Red Bull cans. That’s because the only window into this scene that the world has, outside of San Francisco and New York City, was the movie “The Social Network.” A non-profit organization called Code.org, founded by brothers Hadi Partovi and Ali Partovi, has launched today to change the perception of all of this, with the goal of making computer science and programming accessible for everyone. When I say everyone, I don’t mean everyone who wants to code. I really mean everyone.I spoke to Hadi yesterday about where he thinks the massive gaps in learning how to code came from and what we can do as a society to fill them. He told me “It’s a challenge that our country needs to face.” Some of these gaps are because schools don’t treat computer science the way it should, and they don’t recognize coding as an essential skill, like reading and writing is. Partovi has taken this on as his personal goal, as well as the goal of Code.org. Read more at Code.org Launches To Help Make Computer Programming Accessible To Everyone | TechCrunch.