Jun 19, 2014 06:51 AM EDT
Google’s $50 Million Initiative Aims To Attract More Girls to Take Up Computer Science Careers (VIDEO)
In an attempt to attract more girls to the coding industry, Google launched a $50 million initiative "Made with Code" at Skylight Modern Thursday.
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"Our industry has lots of stereotypes, including the notion that coding means sitting at a computer alone," says Google Vice President Megan Smith. "We hope to show girls that coding is fun," USA Today reports.
Made with Code is connected to a website that encourages girls to use basic coding technique to make bracelets and other items. Google also plans to support girl-coding parties at Girl Scouts and Boys and Girls Clubs around the country and fund several marketing and awareness campaigns.
The initiative aims to educate young teenage girls by saying that the coding is not just limited to technology-related chores, but is also equally helpful in movie business and medical industries (helping to find cure for malaria, for example).
Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, said that although there is an increasing presence of women in the tech field including Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo's Marissa Mayer, there is an absence of female equivalents to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Clinton, who works for both the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative, said that the number of women graduates of computer-science degrees has dropped significantly from 40 percent in the '80s to 14 percent today.
"Medicine used to be entirely male dominated, but slowly that was turned around, and the same can happen here," Clinton said.
According to Villanova University Department of Computer Science, there will be 4.2 million jobs in computing and information technology by the year 2020 in the U.S. However, less than one percent of high school girls chose computer science as their career path.
"The only people that are involved in computers and technology and stuff are only men," said student Luisa Goytia, who participated in "Girls Who Code" program in 2013, said. "I didn't know why, and I never questioned it."
However, Diana Navarro - an 18-year-old Rutgers University student - is well-aware of the gender gap. Navarro loves to code and write software for computer programs.
"We live in a culture where we're dissuaded to do things that are technical," Navarro said. "Younger girls see men, not women, doing all the techie stuff, programming and computer science," Mercury News reports.