On Monday 1st May, Dallas women of Capco visited the Girls Who Code program at the Bishop Arts Theater Center (BATC). During the session, we were able to share our experiences as women in information technology; discuss the education and career choices that brought us to where we are today; and offer advice to young women interested in pursuing technology and engineering. In this blog, we reflect on a very inspiring day and an important cause close to our hearts.
Girls Who Code is a nationwide movement working to close the gender gap in technology and engineering by highlighting career opportunities, fostering female-driven communities, and teaching programming skills to young women through local programs. Founded in 1993, BATC is a pillar of the community focused on promoting a rich culture of diversity in the arts, providing support and opportunities for local artists to showcase their talent, and sponsoring programs to further arts education. Having received numerous awards and accolades throughout its 25-year history, BATC is working to broaden their outreach efforts for the betterment of the Dallas community by sponsoring programs like Girls Who Code.
According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29 percent of the science and engineering workforce. Furthermore, that number is predicted to decrease to only 22 percent in less than a decade without intervention.
The importance of closing the gender gap is increasingly crucial as the demand for skilled employees in technology grows in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations in computer and information technology are projected to increase 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, adding over 550,000 new jobs at a rate faster than the average for all occupations.
By encouraging interest, aiding skill development, and creating communities for like-minded young women, we can ensure that women have an equal share of this quickly growing field. In fact, through their expanding programs, clubs, and communities, Girls Who Code is on track to achieve gender parity in entry level jobs by 2027, as the program’s alumni are declaring college majors in computer science or related fields at 15 times the national average.
The Girls Who Code mission statement outlines how the program aims to change the image of what a programmer looks like and does. This may be a simple statement, but it is no simple task. In fact, it’s made even more difficult by almost a century of reinforced stereotypes that align science and technology with men through social norms, media representations, and more.
We appreciated the opportunity to meet with the young ladies in the Girls Who Code program of BATC, and hope our shared experiences provided a firsthand demonstration that the technology field isn’t confined to the traditional (male) programmer image the Girls Who Code program is striving to redefine. By discussing our diverse backgrounds and the wide range of roles we’ve filled in our careers, we hope these young women are inspired to pursue technology in their forthcoming education and careers and that they understand the technology field isn’t limited to a single set of experiences or opportunities.
When young women can see themselves represented in a highly male-dominated field, it serves to inspire, to increase their confidence and strengthen their intentions to pursue technology-orientated goals. This is only one of the many driving forces behind Girls Who Code and BATC, and we are proud to be involved with such an impactful program that is truly changing the course of women in technology.
Their efforts to patch the pipeline of young women entering college with technology-focused aspirations are unparalleled, and we enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to encourage young women to pursue technology as a career.