Google is committing $50 million over the next three years to help encourage more young girls to join the field of IT and write computer code as part of the nascent Made with Code initiative.
The new group, which also includes partners such as Chelsea Clinton, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of the USA, Mindy Kaling, MIT Media Lab, National Center for Women & Information Technology, SevenTeen and more, was announced June 19 by Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of Google's YouTube unit, in a post on the Google Official Blog.
Made with Code will work to solve some of the problems that exist today that are blocking young girls and women from pursuing careers in IT, wrote Wojcicki. One of the key issues, she wrote, is that statistics show that there are far too few women in the field and "far too few young girls following their paths. In fact, less than 1 percent of high school girls express interest in majoring in computer science."
That's where Made with Code hopes to make an impact, she wrote. To start, the project includes introductory Blockly-based coding projects, like designing a bracelet 3D-printed by Shapeways, learning to create animated GIFs and building beats for a music track, wrote Wojcicki. Also included are collaborations with organizations like Girl Scouts of the USA and Girls Inc. to bring girls into Made with Code and to encourage them to complete their first coding experiences, she wrote.
The $50 million donation will be used "to support programs that can help get more females into computer science, like rewarding teachers who support girls who take CS courses on Codecademy or Khan Academy," she wrote.
"Nowadays, coding isn't just a skill useful for working at a tech company; engineering isn't just for engineers," wrote Wojcicki. "Interior design. Medicine. Architecture. Music. No matter what a girl dreams of doing, learning how to code will help her get there. Their future—our future—is made with code. Let's do what we can to make sure that future is as bright as possible."
Wojcicki said that she was inspired to create the idea behind Made with Code to encourage her own school-age daughter to look at the possibilities that lay before her in the field of IT. "So, I decided to launch a campaign at home—connecting my daughter to coding resources, increasing my encouragement and introducing her to other girls interested in computer science," she wrote. "It wasn't always easy, but it's already showing results. She recently started learning basic computer languages and using code to do projects at home."
The site also features inspirational videos about women who are using code in their dream jobs, including Miral, a hip hop dancer and choreographer who lights up stages across the country; Danielle, a cinematographer at Pixar who helps to bring beloved characters like Nemo and Merida to life; and Erica, who is a humanitarian fighting malaria around the world, wrote Wojcicki. "These are all women with cool, amazing jobs. But, more important, they're all women who use computer science, and an ability to code, to do those cool, amazing jobs. They couldn't do what they do without having learned not just to use technology, but to build it themselves."
By working to help encourage young girls to see the possibilities, Google hopes to help bring more women into the field. "Coding is a new literacy and it gives people the potential to create, innovate and quite literally change the world," Wojcicki said in a statement. "We've got to show all girls that computer science is an important part of their future, and that it's a foundation to pursue their passions, no matter what field they want to enter. Made with Code is a great step toward doing that."