Sheela was beyond excited…her village was finally getting a computer! She’d woken up at 4am and walked for half an hour to get to the village library before the throngs arrived. As she made her way into the library, and sat down in front of the new and shiny computer, she heard a voice behind her.
“Girl, what do you think you’re doing?” Ramu kaka, the librarian questioned her in his brusque voice.
“Kaka, I want to use the computer! Maybe even learn how software is made!” she replied emphatically.
“Whyever would you do that Sheela? You’re a girl. Go home and help your mother cook. Machinery is beyond you, in fact, you’ll only monopolise the lads’ time and spoil the computer. Come on now Sheela, leave!” he said angrily.
Sheela felt tears prick her eyes. Why was kaka saying this to her? Why couldn’t she learn software if she wished? Just because she was a girl? Was Kaka right? Was she incapable of learning software because she was a girl?
To Code or not to Code-that is the question most girls face today.
Why go into a field dominated by men? Why be completely alone and isolated there? If there aren’t any women there..does that mean women can’t code?
A mindset like this severely impacts confidence in young girls- they’ve started believing that they can’t code, that coding is something beyond them. In India, this situation is even worse.
Patriarchal undertones are still deeply imbued in Indian society, where even in liberal, open minded schools only 10% of the children with Computer Science are girls.
In prominent schools like The Mother’s International School, Delhi Public School- the ratio of girls in their respective computer clubs is roughly 1:25. Which only goes on to highlight that this problem is epidemic in nature.
The issue only worsens with government schools and weaker, more backwards sects of society- where there is NO ratio to mull over. Female participation in CS is close to nil in such cases. Sheela’s cases is only one in a million others. Indian women are told by everyone that they can’t, be it society, their community or their relatives. Feeling this pivotal need in society, we here at The Girl Code plan to reach out to young girls and alleviate this impediment in society. Our aim is to help them CODE with CONFIDENCE and realise their potential.