Girls Who Code unveils new plan for closing tech's gender gap

Girls Who Code unveils new plan for closing tech's gender gap
© Carey Wagner, courtesy of Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code is offering new ideas to promote their efforts to close the gender gap in the tech workforce.

“Policymakers understand that the gender gap in tech is a real economic problem,” Corinne Roller, director of public policy at Girls Who Code told The Hill Thursday.

The new agenda includes recommendations for lawmakers and officials to help the national non-profit toward its goal of boosting the number of women in computer science and engineering fields.

The ideas target both schools, to encourage girls to take science classes at an earlier age, and the workforce, to better provide support for women already in the tech workforce.

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The agenda calls for “Expanding Computer Science Courses to all Middle Schools.”

Roller said that they are hoping to see the most immediate impact in middle schools across the nation.

“Deepening girls' experience with computer science during the junior high grades can impact a girl's journey from high school into her future career,” the recommendations state.

The group is also calling for better tracking and data on computer science participation in school.

Another recommendation is focused on exposing young students to more women in the tech industry.

“We believe, and research supports, that girls who grow up surrounded by women in computer science will see that field as a potential pathway for themselves,” the group says.

Tied to that, a fourth recommendation calls for better funding to offer professional development help for women in tech.

Roller says Girls Who Code hopes to work with elected officials at both the national and state level and already have efforts underway in Maryland and Pennsylvania with the support of the state's governors.

"We have seen support from elected officials across the country, from both sides of the aisle," she said.

Girls Who Code already offer Summer Immersion Programs and after-school clubs around the country, working with partner groups.

Roller said that Girls Who Code has already worked with more than 90,000 girls in its first 6 years.

But they still have big goals.

“By reducing the structural barriers for girls to take computer science, we hope that all girls will be exposed to computer science and consider computing as an exciting career path,” Roller said.

This story was updated at 4:55 p.m.