Girls Who Code Redefines the Role of Girls in Computer Science Fields
By Arlington Public Library
Posted on May 05, 2016, May 05, 2016

Think computer science and all its technical details are only interesting to boys who love to play computer games? You obviously haven't met the Girls Who Code, a nationwide program that has brought high-quality computer science education to more than 84,000 girls to date.

On March 2, the Arlington Public Library began its Girls Who Code Club, a community-based affiliate of the national non-profit organization Girls Who Code, which seeks to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills necessary to pursue 21st century opportunities.

"Providing access to technology has been part of what we do as a library for many years," library services manager Stacy Garcia said. "By offering a Girls Who Code Club in our community this spring, we have been able to empower our teens to pursue any interests or passions they may have been harboring for technology."

The Girls Who Code Clubs program offers a fun, project-based curriculum that covers topics such as artificial intelligence, graphics, game design, cryptography, and mobile development. Clubs are led by a mix of industry professionals, computer science teachers, and college students, all of whom are trained in Girls Who Code's innovative curriculum and philosophy.

By 2020, there will be 1.4 million jobs open in the computing related fields, but the United States is only on pace to fill 29 percent of them with computer science graduates. At current rates, only three percent will be filled by women. Girls Who Code and its community partners nationwide are seeking to change that.

"Since founding Girls Who Code in 2012, it's been my dream to democratize access to computer science education for girls across the country," founder and CEO of Girls Who Code Reshma Saujani said. "Thanks to the dedicated community partners, volunteer instructors, school leaders, librarians, parents, and girls who have stepped up to launch Girls Who Code Clubs, that's exactly what we've done today."

The 19 girls who attended sessions at the library's East Arlington Branch Lab learned to code through an online platform called Codesters, and completed mini projects that became final projects for the end of the series. The final session was held Wednesday, April 4, and plans for a fall 2016 session are underway.

Girls Who Code first piloted Clubs in 2013 following the success of the organization's intensive seven-week Summer Immersion Program, with the aim of bringing high-quality computer science education to more girls in more cities across the US.

Organizations or schools interested in launching a Girls Who Code Club can visit the Club page of the Girls Who Code website.

Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology. Through its Summer Immersion Program and Girls Who Code Clubs, the organization is leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. Additional information is available on the Girls Who Code website.

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