This week in tech: Code like a girl

It’s no secret that women in STEM fields are hugely unrepresented. There are a lot of factors to this. In one sense a lot of women are discouraged from going to STEM fields despite expressing interest in them. Some blame society that tells us, according to the film maker Robin Hauser Reynolds:

Girl’s aren’t supposed to be good at math and science.

Others associate a lack of women coders with the overwhelming amount of male coders who exist. The idea of an all male environment is intimidating for most women.

While 57% of bachelor’s degrees are earned by women, just 12% of computer science degrees are awarded to women.

As a woman in the technology field and someone who is gaining more experience coding every day I am constantly around more experienced coders. Men. Men. Men.

Despite being told growing up and sometimes even by professors and friends that mgirls-who-codeen in the computer science field will do everything in their power to isolate me, the woman, all my male counterparts try to not only encourage me but to also help me when I have problems understanding a language. Not every girl is so lucky.

“At many of these start-ups, sexism often is rampant, and if it’s not that then it’s unconscious bias. What many women in these jobs told us is simply that it’s death by a thousand cuts. They felt they had to prove their worth daily just to avoid being thought of as the person who is there to bring the coffee,” Reynolds said during a 2015 documentary, CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap.

Though my experiences so far as a “girl coder” have been good sexism is still rampant in STEM fields, which is why organizations like Girls Who Code is so important. Girls Who Codes seeks to bridge the gender gap in technology.

Discrimination exists and we can not hide from it.

Women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but hold just 25% of the jobs in technical or computing fields.

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings. Yet U.S. universities are expected produce only enough qualified graduates to fill 29% of these jobs.

We can’t shy away from accounts of discrimination. Jobs in computer science are growing, and in order to develop as a society – as humans – we need to work together.girls-who-code_1x

“We have not been exempt from gender bias or worse in our careers; it has simply not been the defining factor in our journey as entrepreneurs. Like all entrepreneurs, multiple other forces have influenced our ability to build our own [women’s] companies,”Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, CEO of Joyus, said.

I believe that the more women coders who exist the more the gap and discrimination will decrease.

Where should we point our fingers? Men? Our parents for teaching us that pink is a girls color and that girls like arts and craft not technology and science fiction? Society? Our education system that does little to encourage diverse technical skills in both men and women? Companies who turn a blind eye to women being discriminated again?

No one.

No more blame shifting. I don’t want to brush aside the relevancy of dealing with all the above issues – they must be dealt with – but I do want to say that we, as woman, have to follow our dreams and accomplish our goals even if our goal is as hard as being a successful female executive in the tech field. Obstacles or not we owe it to ourselves and all the women before us (and then women after) to purse careers in STEM despite discouragement from others.

Women today represent 18% of all computer science graduates. In 1984, they represented 37%.


FIU will be hosting a Girls Who Code event this upcoming Friday in the GC 310 at 5 p.m. For more information please contact FIU Student Affairs. I hope to see you there!

Sources: Girls Who Code


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