There are many organizations working to teach girls to code, allowing them to develop a super-empowering skill that helps level the playing field for women in STEM everywhere.
One of these groups is IGNITE: Women Fueling Science & Technology, which is a project of the Global Fund for Women. In February, girls all over the world competed in the International Girls Hackathon, where “girl coders worked in teams to create a new website or application that could increase girls’ access to safe spaces in their communities (both online and physical).”
The #HackGirlsRights winner’s idea is brilliant, straight down to the name: Não Me Calo, meaning “I Will Not Shut Up.” Its creators are four girls from Brazil. IGNITE explains the project: “Não Me Calo (I Will Not Shut Up) is an app and social networking tool that lets women review and rank public venues based on the level of safety they provide for women and girls. Não Me Calo also encourages women to fight for change by using these rankings to pressure business owners and governments to improve security in locations that have received unfavorable reviews.” So, it doesn’t just keep women safe, but it also brings them together to create social change that will improve their communities—even better!
Do you want to learn more about coding, or maybe find resources for a daughter/niece/student/friend? Look no further! Girls Who Code has summer programs, after-school clubs, and online resources. Black Girls Code hosts programs and hackathons in different parts of the country. Codecademy uses an online learning approach so almost any computer-user could teach herself how to code (and for free!)
There’s also an increasing amount of scholarships for girls who want to pursue computer science, such as model Karlie Kloss’s #KodeWithKarlie scholarship. Although the application for that opportunity is now closed, it was great to see Kloss get coverage in huge outlets like Time magazine and use her fame to bring attention to the need for computer science education. As she says on her website, "I think it's crucial that young women learn to code as early as possible to ensure that we have a voice in what the world looks like.”
From Grace Hopper to Hedy Lamarr, girls and women have played a vital role in creating today’s computer technology and culture. Although they’re often written out of those narratives, learning how to code gives us the power to bring girls and women—and their stories—front and center.
Images via IGNITE & the Smithsonian Institute