The Future is Female: Celebrating the Women Engineers of Today and Tomorrow
Today is International Women in Engineering Day, and as the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, I’m thinking about the women engineers leading the field and the ones that are going to lead it in years to come. Both of these groups are vital for the future of our communities, our country, and our world. As I look at the major global issues ahead of us — climate change, refugee crises, world hunger — I’m willing to bet that women in computing and engineering fields will be behind the solutions to these problems. Today, the work remains in showing girls everywhere, that this is a world that is open to them.
Let’s talk statistics. Women represent 50 percent of the population, yet make up just 24% of the computing workforce — and that number is declining. Jobs in STEM fields are some of the fastest growing and highest paying in our country. Just look at the latest report on the highest paid women in Fortune 500: The four top-earning female CEOs — Safra Catz from Oracle, Meg Whitman from HP, Ginni Rometty from IBM and former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer — all have STEM backgrounds. Computer science and engineering fields have the highest return compared to any other field of study. These jobs provide enormous opportunity to bring women into a thriving innovation economy, but our girls are getting left behind.
So where do we come in? Girls Who Code is building the largest pipeline of future female engineers in the United States. By the end of this year, our programs will have taught over 40,000 girls in all 50 states — that’s 4X the number of women who graduated last year with a degree in computer science.
In addition to teaching girls the skills they’ll need to pursue jobs in computing and engineering, we also know we must address the cultural barriers that keep women on the sidelines. At Girls Who Code, we work to address the mostly white, male-dominated culture of the industry and shift perceptions of what an engineer looks like and does. This is why efforts like the #ilooklikeanengineer hashtag are so important. We need to continue to show women and girls that engineering, computer science, and other STEM fields aren’t just for the guys, and introduce them to new role models in the field.
This year, we’re debuting a new initiative — our Girls Who Code book series — to do just that. This is a first-of-its-kind 11-book series for girls to learn to code and to join our national movement of building future STEM leaders. The first books come out August 22, 2017 and include a nonfiction book, Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World, and a fiction book, The Friendship Code, which we like to think of as The Baby-Sitters Club meets coding.
International Women in Engineering Day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the badass women engineers that are out there solving today’s biggest problems. It is also a reminder of the hard work that still remains in ensuring our next generation of female leaders have a shot at the jobs of the future, and are at the forefront of creating change that the world needs.
Want to make a difference for a girl in your life? Pre-order the fiction and nonfiction books here, and let them see for themselves what a girl who codes looks like.