At this yearís Google I/O, the spotlight was pointed on gender inequality in the high-tech industry. Google has established a new initiative -- Made w/Code -- that it hopes will level the playing field. Part of this initiative will fund online courses in basic coding. This funding will allow thousands of women to take three months of online coding courses for free at the Code School.
Google's Made w/Code initiative is attempting to inspire women, and even young girls, to enter the IT industry via courses and extra-curricula activities.
For those of you who donít know the stats on the number of females in the tech industry: itís about 25% in the IT field and 18% of computer science grads. Now, this is a marked improvement on previous decades where women were barely represented at all within the technology industry.
It is uncertain what difference this initiative will make as many women may opt to go into other tech-related fields, like graphic design, instead of IT. But whatever happens, at least everyone is being given a fair shot at these jobs.
I post a lot of articles about these types of initiatives to perhaps inspire someone out there. I have a few colleagues that started mentoring and teaching STEM. I think they were inspired by the overwhelming surge of efforts in this area.
You know, giving those what we all needed earlier in life... a little push in the right direction.
Kudos to Google for trying, but truthfully I don't think anyone knows how to change this situation. In 1988, one of our editors (Gail Robinson, who was an EE), wrote a ten-page magazine piece outlining all the initiatives that were being undertaken to encourage more young women to major in computer science and engineering. Back then, the percentage of women was about 10-12%. Today, it's not much different. If someone has a way of changing this, I'd sure like to hear it.
Many articles go with few or no comments. Many times the writer of the article comments when nobody else does - or maybe just before anybody else does. (which I find a little weird) Certain lightening rod subjects seem to go crazy, but some subjects fly right under the radar.
This general subject seems to come up a lot here, maybe it is a little stale.
Clint, you're welcome. It's an issue close to my heart. Not only did I work for one of the earliest--Elizabeth Rather was the second Forth programmer in the 70s long before I knew her--I also had two close female programmer friends in the late 70s. And you're right, apparently the role of women in early programming isn't commonly known.
Thanks for mentioning the historic and pivotal role of women in the earliest days of computers. Note that I didn't write "Thanks for reminding everyone" - most people don't have any idea of women's roles in the beginning of the computer revolution. This is one of those unfortunate "oversights" missed in what have proven to be one-sided and inaccurate history lessons taught in our U.S. schools.
Hopefully your comments will at the very least inspire the readers of Design News to look up Rear Admiral "Amazing Grace" Hopper and learn more about her.
Cabe, thanks for bringing us up to date on what Google is trying to do for women developers. The rise of women in IT in more recent decades is something of a return--the first programmers were primarily women, not men. One of the most famous was computer scientist Grace Hopper, and one of the earliest was Elizabeth Rather, whom I worked for at FORTH Inc. when she was its president. The more recent phenomenon is the rise of women at higher levels of tech companies. The Anita Borg Institute and Women in Technology are two groups with info on this topic, and were formed with the aim of helping to increase those numbers.
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