Column: Girls Who Code or People Who Code?

Image+courtesy+of+Joel+Glovier.

Image courtesy of Joel Glovier.

Prayag Bhakar, Staff Writer

As many students across the nation start their own path to find the right major, experts are focusing on why this journey does not promote certain majors to both genders equally, specifically computer science.

Recent statistics show that the majority of today’s computer science majors are predominantly male. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, only 18 percent of computer science degrees are given to women.

This imbalanced ratio is also reflected in the workforce. Change the Equation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of science, technology, engineering, and math education, stated that in 2011 only 25 percent of computer science related jobs were taken up by women, despite the fact that there are three jobs available for every unemployed computer science professional.

If these statistics seem alarming, they should be. Thankfully, people have noticed and have started a movement towards balancing out the ratio of men and women in computer science. To help with this process, many non-profit organizations, such as Girls Who Code (GWC), have created many opportunities to encourage women to try their hand in the field.

Founded in 2012, GWC states that their goal is to “to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.” They aim to expose girls to the world of computer science as a way to solve the problem from the bottom up.

Inspired by GWC, a branch was established at Fremd. While still new, the girls-only club offers many opportunities to learn to program and the inner workings of computers in a safe environment that facilitates creativity. But the club is like a double-edged sword; while fighting the disparity in computer science, it prohibits boys from getting the same experiences.

It is necessary to allow girls to learn with boys; after all, the club’s goal is to equalize the field’s gender ratio, not tilt the scale in favor of girls. Many students want to experience computer science but do not have room in their schedules, and a club like this offers just that. It would not be fair to limit this learning opportunity to only girls.

Making a new co-ed club would be beneficial and would not infringe on the safe learning environment that GWC club intends on creating. This new club will not only allow boys to access the same learning opportunities, but more importantly, the opportunity to learn together with the girls.