The gender gap in technology has only worsened over the past three decades. In 1984, 37 percent of all computer science graduates were women. Today, eighteen percent are women.
So, how big of a deal is this? Well, it all comes down to job opportunities. According to Girls Who Code, a nonprofit working to close that gap, there will be 1.4 million jobs available in computing related fields by 2020. US graduates are on track to fill 29 percent of those positions. Women are on track to fill just 3 percent of those positions.
These alarming statistics have ignited a push to get more girls to study computer science. On June 27, Girls Who Code launched its free 2016 Summer Immersion Program in the greater Seattle area. Rising 11th and 12th grade girls will spend 7-weeks learning the fundamentals of computer science while gaining exposure to elite tech businesses. The program works in partnership with Adobe, Amazon, AT&T, Expedia, Groupon and Microsoft.
“Too often girls don’t pursue computer science because they’ve never been exposed to it, or they don’t see the impact it can make on the world,” said Girls Who Code Founder and CEO, Reshma Saujani in a statement. “By actually embedding classrooms in today’s leading companies that create products girls use every day, we show them, ‘Look, you can do this. You can code this. This is a world that is open to you, and once you learn this skill set, the possibilities are endless.’”
Girls Who Code started with 20 girls in New York City in 2012. Now it works with over 10,000 female students in 42 states across the country. Some Girls Who Code students have gone on to pursue computer science degrees from top universities and accepted intern positions at technology companies.
The local immersion program will run June 27- Aug. 26.