Girls Who Code: Closing the STEM Gender Gap One Summer at a Time


Brittney Franco and Wendy Rodriquez working hard in their Computer Science pathway.

Ashley Banks , Web Designer

There is a tremendous gender gap in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields; although women make up a majority of the workforce, they continue to make up a small portion of the tech field.

Past generations have attempted to increase the number of women interested in the STEM field in a number of ways; however, their interest decreased from 37 percent in 1995 to only 24 percent today.

Although this trend is concerning, it has recently become common thinking that in order to get girls interested in STEM they must be introduced to these concepts at a young age, Girls Who Code intends to do just that.

“Girls Who Code piqued my interest because I was raised in a household of all girls and really felt the message speak to me about empowering the next generation of girls in the STEM,” Robert Koepp, former Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program instructor stated. “I have seen first hand the discrimination that my friends and family have faced, simply because they were female.”

Reshma Saujani, J.D., created Girls Who Code five years ago with one mission in mind: to close the gender gap in technology.

The Summer Immersion Program (SIP) is one of the company’s spotlight courses and continues to be the foundation of what they do to help girls in our society become familiar with modern technology. The program is a seven-week lineup of projects that consist of website making, robotics, video games, and app making along with various guest speakers that are often women in the tech industry. Throughout this program, the students attending are continually exposed to the fundamentals of coding and what it means to be a programmer in the eyes of a woman working in the industry.

“It is always important to show young ladies in our generation that women are capable of doing a ‘man’s’ job or even beyond that expectation,” said Wendy Rodriguez, current senior at Da Vinci Communications High School (DVC) and former Summer Immersion Program student. “Not only would this create more diversity within the STEM field, but this creates empowerment for women around the world.”

With women such as Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Window Snyder, and many others having such impact on the technology world in the past, it is essential that girls today incorporate themselves and become known in this growing field as much as they can. Girls Who Code has aided young women with computing skills, equipment, and 21st-century skills necessary to tackle various job opportunities that can be available to them.

“Not many girls get the opportunities that Girls Who Code gives to us. They really want to inspire and help us get interested and to pursue a career in computer science,” said Koby Wu, a current junior at DVC and former Summer Immersion Program student. “These programs are important because they are so rare, to find free computer science programs just for girls. If we want to close the gender gap in computer science, I think programs like Girls Who Code is the way to go.”

Girls Who Code and programs like it are what the nation needs to break down the barriers that so many girls in computer science face. Girls Who Code can help empower young women to realize that computer science is not and should not be an exclusively male-dominated field. If this society wants women to be industry leaders, then our workforce needs to reflect that with at least close to an even distribution of men and women.