Close your eyes and try to picture a computer scientist. Who comes to mind? A geeky Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science? Robert Downey Jr. in the Iron Man lair with his homemade gadgets? Whoever it is, chances are you’re thinking of a man right now—and that’s a problem.
The sad truth is that fewer than one in five computer science graduates is female, and of that small number, many drop out of the field after just a few years. Not only is that bad for girls—jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields pay about 33 percent more than non-STEM jobs, and computer science jobs are among some of the more lucrative out there—but it’s also bad for society as a whole.
Think about it: technology isn’t a niche field anymore. So many disciplines, from medicine to city planning and even fashion design, rely on computer code these days—and if it’s mainly men writing that code, that means women’s ideas aren’t being represented, utilized, and turned into the great innovations that they could be. Study after study shows that diversity helps companies and entire industries go farther and achieve bigger things, and that absolutely counts for computer science as well.
Girls need to be exposed to the fun, exciting world of computer science so they can have a direct impact on the twenty-first-century world we live in; and all of us need girls in computer science so that we can benefit from their creativity, problem solving, and general drive to make our world a better place.
That’s why Girl Scouts is thrilled to be a part of Google’s Made with Code initiative, which is helping millions of girls learn coding basics. If there’s a girl in your life, and you want her to have the brightest future possible, check out our free Made with Code party kit. It comes complete with super fun activities (Mixbeats! Make an animated GIF!) you and your group can complete even if you, as the host, have zero experience with computer science. Who knows, you might learn a thing or two yourself!