Giving young black girls skills for the futureBy Black Girls Code
Black Girls CODE runs educational workshops to introduce coding to young, black girls in an attempt to redress the balance in skills that currently means women represent only a quarter of the technology workforce, and black women just three percent.
The outfit was formed in 2011 by biotech engineer Kimberly Bryant who saw her 12-year-old daughter left cold by a computer sciences summer camp at Stanford. Bryant looked for alternatives, and when there were none (in fact finding most schools in the San Francisco Bay area didn’t even teach computer programming), set out to fill the gap herself.
She argues that it is imperative to give young black girls the skills to code so they have equal access to future jobs in technology – an industry that is predicted to employ 1.4M people in the US alone by 2020.
Bryant, who was awarded a Champion of Change by the White House, says: ‘Jobs in technology have the [most rapid] rates of growth… it’s important that girls of all colours have the opportunity to move into that field. ‘If you can code, you will never go hungry out there.’
Black Girls CODE has quickly expanded to seven more cities, offering 2,000 girls trainings across the US, and the group now has a chapter in Johannesburg. Bryant wants to double the number of hubs it has nationally in the next two years, train one million girls by 2050, and become the ‘Girl Scouts of technology’.
The group runs a series of after-school clubs, day workshops, week-long intensives and six-week summer courses. Classes are designed and conducted by a corps of 600 volunteers from the IT sector, with a ratio of 2 or 3 students to each teacher.
Girls, aged 7 to 17 years (who pay a small fee towards tuition, but with three quarters qualifying for scholarships), learn robotics, web and video game design, app development, computer programming, Python, Ruby and Scratch as part of a ‘culturally-rich’ curriculum.
Image 'Black Girls CODE' courtesy of BlackGirlsCODE
Last updated: 27th of May, 2014